WELLINGTON-Former skipper Brendon McCullum, describing his fallout with Ross Taylor a “bad stain for New Zealand cricket”, attributed it to a race for captaincy between the two in 2011, and admitted that they still aren’t the best of friends despite mutual respect.

Taylor, who is still active in international cricket, took over the captaincy after Daniel Vettori stepped down following the 2011 World Cup. “It put some pressure on my friendship and relationship with Ross. I have played a lot of development and age cricket with Ross. I was the captain of the under-19 team and Taylor was my vice-captain. We’ve always got on really well,” said McCullum.

However, after a 1-1 draw in a Test series in Sri Lanka in 2012, it emerged that Taylor had issues with the then coach Mike Hesson. That followed series defeats in South Africa, the West Indies and India. “We had to go for an interview for the job. It was about presenting the map for the future of New Zealand cricket to a panel. I don’t really know what we were doing. If I had my time, I would’ve said: ‘no, I’m not going to come and go through the process, you appoint Ross as captain and then we’ll see what unfolds from there.’ “It’s a bad stain for New Zealand cricket and put pressure on Ross and me. Then it led me to eventually take over from Ross,” said McCullum.

McCullum said he and Taylor are still not the best of friends, but he has a lot of respect for New Zealand’s all-time highest ODI run-scorer. “We are not the best of friends, but I have an immense amount of respect for him,” said McCullum.Taylor was given the option of remaining the Test captain, with McCullum leading the limited-overs sides, but he declined.

“I was asked if I wanted to take over the role of New Zealand captain in all three formats. So initially, I told them I would get back to them. I needed to think long and hard about it. I knew it would be a major controversial decision. I knew it could have major ramifications on NZ cricket, and also on my time as a player,” he said. McCullum eventually took over in all formats in December 2012 and remained in the role until his retirement in 2016.