McCullum handed Black Caps reins
Brendon McCullum has been named New Zealand skipper after former incumbent Ross Taylor rejected the opportunity to retain control of the Test side in a split-captaincy system.
Taylor, meanwhile, has also opted out of the tour of South Africa, which features three Twenty20s and as many one-day internationals either side of a two-Test series.
McCullum has previously led the side in eight ODIs and 12 T20s, but faces a daunting task without arguably the Black Caps’ best player.
Taylor’s departure from the fold is all the more frustrating given his 142 and 74 as New Zealand claimed a famous victory at the P Sara Oval to earn a series draw in Sri Lanka.
David White, the New Zealand Cricket CEO, said: “(Coach) Mike Hesson proposed a split captaincy that was endorsed by me as CEO and agreed by the board.
“The original recommendation was for Ross Taylor to be retained as Test captain and Brendon McCullum to be short-form captain. We regret that Ross Taylor has declined the opportunity. Therefore Brendon McCullum has been appointed as Black Caps captain for all three forms of the game.
“I met with Ross ... for about three hours yesterday and we considered a number of different options. One of them was ... for him to go to South Africa and even just play the Test matches if he wanted to do that.
“But he thought about it long and hard and he said that he would like a break and to spend time with his family and we've agreed with that and we respect that. It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross Taylor in it.”
Hesson, whom Taylor is rumoured to have fallen out with, added: “Brendon certainly reads the one-day game well and is very adaptable and changes quickly. The one-day game and the T20 game move very quickly. I think Brendon McCullum has attributes to really add value to our team in that area.
“Split captaincy is something that works and with the high volume of cricket around the world at the moment, for one person to take on all three forms of the game is an extremely difficult task. It's very difficult for anybody to be up to that.
“We play 10 months of the year. In terms of planning from series to series it's extremely difficult, to look after your own game and worry about that of the team.
“Therefore, my recommendation was for Ross to stay on as Test captain and focus on that, and also focus on his batting in all three forms, and for Brendon to come in as leader of the one-day and T20 squads.”
Taylor’s absence overshadows a raft of other changes to the Test party, with wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk, leg-spinner Todd Astle and opener Rob Nicol all losing their places. BJ Watling, Dean Brownlie, Peter Fulton and uncapped left-arm spinner Bruce Martin come in.
Fulton is also named in a T20 squad missing Jacob Oram and Tim Southee due to the upcoming births of their children. Andrew Ellis also misses out with a side strain, while there are call-ups for Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Derek de Boorder, Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan.
The tour, for which a one-day squad has yet to be named, begins with a T20 in Durban on December 21.
New Zealand Test squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Peter Fulton, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, James Franklin, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin.
New Zealand T20 squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Peter Fulton, Colin Munro, Nathan McCullum, Corey Anderson, James Franklin, Jimmy Neesham, Derek de Boorder, Mitchell McClenaghan, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne.