Centurion:Disappointed by New Zealand's meek surrender in the Champions Trophy final against Australia, stand-in captain Brendon McCullum said the Black Caps badly missed inspirational regular skipper Daniel Vettori.
"Losing him (Vettori) was a huge blow. He's a huge player who we look to not only for performance but also for inspiration, so to lose him was obviously disappointing," said McCullum after the six-wicket loss to Australia last night.
Vettori was ruled out on the day of the match due to a hamstring injury. He was the leading wicket-taker for the Kiwis and was also in good batting form.
McCullum had a bad day as a stand-in skipper. The wicketkeeper-batsman was out for duck after having faced 14 balls. He revealed that he came to know about Vettori's injury and his pulling out only after he had reached the ground.
Having listed his disappointments, McCullum was all praise for how Shane Watson turned up the heat in the final two games of the tournament.
"He's done brilliantly. Having begun with two ducks and to actually finish with consecutive centuries was tremendous," he said.
McCullum opined that perhaps his team, which managed a paltry 200 batting first, was 50 runs short.
"Still it is a step forward for us. Last couple of years have been pretty tough for us with ICL and all. But it gave opportunities to boys and now we have 20-25 players capable of performing at international stage and have a number of match-winners," he said.