When Brendon McCullum walks out to the toss in tomorrow’s first Test against South Africa at Newlands he will become New Zealand’s 28th Test captain.
Today he addressed the media at the traditional pre-series captain’s press conference and confirmed that the team was close to being finalised.
“It’s still going through the head,” said McCullum. “I just want to see - the grounds people are going to take a bit of grass of this afternoon and again in the morning.
“I guess without having the final Test strip to look at it’s hard to really nail down that final position. We’ve got ten of the final eleven confirmed anyway.
“There are quite a few cracks for a pitch on the day before a Test match but there’s a good even grass covering as well so I guess it depends on when he shaves that last part down how exposed those crack are will determine whether we either go for that second spinner, a greener wicket looking seamer or someone who likes the ball a bit older."
South Africa have reached the summit of Test rankings but rather than become overawed by the prospect of taking them on in their own backyard, the New Zealand camp or firmly focused on making the most of the opportunity.
“It is a big challenge, it’s a huge challenge and there’s no point ignoring that.
“With that challenge comes opportunity for us as well and we have a fairly young side over here but certainly no excuses from our point of view.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to play against a very good cricket team who are number one in the world.
“That’s why you play the game. Test cricket always has its challenges and I guess this is a slightly bigger challenge for us.
“If we can look back at the end of ten days of Test cricket and say we’ve done a very good job to put them under pressure and we’ve got the results we wanted then I guess this could be a catalyst for long-term performances.”
New Zealand v South Africa
2/01/2013 - 6/01/2013: First Test
Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
10:30am (local time), 9:30pm (NZ time)