Delighted after drubbing India 4-0 in the just-concluded ODI series, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum on Friday called it a ground-breaking triumph for his side and the most satisfying of his career so far. (Match report)
New Zealand dominated the five-match series, the third game of which was a tie, even though India were considered hands-down favourites at the start of it. The Kiwis' fantastic run ended India's reign at the top of the ICC ODI rankings. (Highlights)
"From an ODI point of view, this series is the most satisfying I have been a part of," said McCullum after the fifth and final ODI which the Kiwis won by 87 runs. (Pics)
"India arrived here as the number one ODI team in the world and not many expected us to compete with them, let alone get a series white wash. We are delighted with the way we played in this series especially on the back of fine performances from Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, and also the way our bowlers stepped up. Overall, it was a ground breaking series for us," he added.
When asked pertinently if Team India had proven worthy opponents, McCullum said he respected Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men.
"We didn't allow them to play to their potential. But they are a very good team. The Indian cricketers all have proven careers and proven statistics over a period of time," he said.
"We were very respectful of their standing in the game as the number one team when they arrived on our shores and for us as the number eight team to put in a performance to topple these guys is something that makes this victory even sweeter," he added.
One of the key factors in New Zealand's victory has been the form of their batsmen, especially Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both of whom again shone in this final ODI as well.
They put on 152 runs for the third wicket, with Williamson scoring his fifth successive half-century in this series, while Taylor scored his second consecutive ton. He also has two other fifties to his name from this series.
"The key to our consistency as a team is that we are getting more runs, consistently. That is on the back of some good form, especially the way Ross and Kane have batted through the middle overs," said McCullum.
"For your number three and four batsmen to stamp their authority on the series the way they have done and the partnerships they have been able to create and get us in those positions to kick on towards the end, that's allowed us to get big totals."
"And when you get big totals then you are going to be be pretty competitive. We have backed that up with the ball," McCullum explained.
McCullum did not forget to compliment his bowlers as well.
"It is encouraging from a bowling point of view as well. Today we saw Matt Henry coming in his first game and it is a dream debut really. His performance was fantastic and one that I am sure he will remember for a long time.
"It just shows the depth that we are starting to build in that fast bowling area and Kyle Mills also got stuck in today, so that's also a big gain for us from the series," he said.
"Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hamish Bennett, James Neesham, Corey Anderson, and so on, we are starting to build a pretty formidable group of bowlers to pick from and it's pretty encouraging," the proud skipper added.
The New Zealand team will now disband for a couple of days' break and will regroup in Auckland on February 4, ahead of the first Test at Eden Park starting two days later.
Even as Team India will be busy picking up the pieces from this disastrous series, the hosts will gradually shift their focus to the two-Test series.
"There are a lot of positives we can take forward," said McCullum, looking to the longer format.
"Our number three and four batsmen don't change for the Test series. We have spoken about the need to separate formats and when we start preparing for the Test match, we will make sure to put our Test heads on and work out our formula and game-plan for Test cricket."
When asked if the pitches will be greener and if short bowling will again be the weapon of choice for the Black Caps, a positive answer was forthcoming.
"We would definitely like some home advantage. But we don't want to see the ball turn too much because that plays into India's hands. If we can get the wickets like what we played against the West Indies (conducive to swing bowling) that will probably suit us," said the New Zealand skipper.
"We are keen to see our bowlers be hostile and aggressive with the ball in hand. It is good that we have bowlers who can do that (bowl short and take wickets). So certainly, it is a tactic we will look to employ in the Test series as well," McCullum signed off.