McCullum is a hit on the world cricket stage

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Brisbane, Feb.13 (ANI): New Zealand's wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum has become cricket's first truly global player and has sparked off a new popularity for the game back home.

The number of teams that he currently represents establishes McCullum's popularity. The list of teams includes: New Zealand, Canterbury, Glamorgan, Kolkata Knight Riders, New South Wales and Otago.

According to Fox Sports, with his exciting stroke play and debonair attitude, McCullum is helping raise cricket's profile in his rugby-mad homeland where the top cricketers are virtual unknowns compared with rugby greats Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori insists that McCullum has increased cricket's popularity across the Tasman, with help from colourful batting big boy Jesse Ryder.

"I think the McCullum-Ryder opening partnership, particularly last year against England the way they played, really elevated the level of popularity within the game," Vettori was quoted, a saying.

"Those two together have made an enormous contribution to, I suppose, the style of New Zealand cricket and also the way it is played," he added.

McCullum, a keen punter who owns several racehorses, has also won many new fans in Australia after bravely batting with painkilling injections in his painful shoulder injury.

The distinctive batsman - with the silver fern and his Test and one-day numbers tattooed on his body - also impressed NSW when he turned out for them.

McCullum even followed Adam Gilchrist's lead when he "walked" after edging a Shane Harwood delivery behind.

"We joked with him after the game and told him 'walking' wasn't in his contract," said NSW chief executive David Gilbert, the former Test bowler.

"I could not speak more highly on Brendon in terms of our dealings with him, we were very impressed with him not just as a cricketer but as a person. He was first-class in everything that he did. He was so humble and so modest for someone who is very well established in international cricket," Gilbert added. (ANI)

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