"I live my life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters." If one was to associate Vin Diesel's Fast and the Furious character Dominic Toretto to a cricketer, then it would surely be the swashbuckling Brendon McCullum.
In his 14-year-old cricketing career, the New Zealand batting sensation has lived his life in the moment, focusing only on the next challenge and achieving another milestone for his country. At times in his career, McCullum left cricket fans utterly frustrated with his Test average mired in the mid-30s for much of the time.
But Baz only knew one speed, and that was full-speed. He dominated the opposition bowling attacks and, at times, did not give them the respect they deserved by playing defensively and remaining at the crease, rather than keeping the runs flowing, only to fall to an ill-judged shot.
Brash, brutal and brilliant to watch, McCullum made all the moments count when he came out to bat in his final Test appearance during the 2nd Test against Australia at Hagley Oval. The right-hander cracked a blistering hundred - fastest in the history of the longest version of the game - to sign off in style.
Fastest Test hundred
Asked to bat, New Zealand got off to a poor start losing three wickets for just 32 runs. This was the time when the Kiwi skipper McCullum walked out in the middle to restore parity in the game. He added 42 runs for the fourth wicket alongside Kane Williamson (7) who was soon undone by Mitchell Marsh.
With the Kiwis reeling at 4-74, McCullum began a pivotal counter-attack that was adequately supported by Corey Anderson (72) at the other end. The duo added a crucial 179 runs for the fifth wicket to bail New Zealand out of a tricky situation.
In the process, Baz registered his name in history books as he struck the fastest hundred in the history of Test cricket. The right-handed batsman reached his 12th Test hundred in a record 54 balls, beating the 56-ball record set by West Indies great Sir Viv Richards in 1986, and equalled by Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq in 2014.
His sensational innings was duly benefitted by James Pattinson who had overstepped the mark when McCullum was caught on 39 by Marsh in a brilliant one-handed effort. He was finally dismissed for 145 when Nathan Lyon took a good catch in the deep to provide the Australians a much-needed breakthrough.
Life in the fast lane
Having made his debut in 2002, McCullum has been busy breaking records and achieving milestones. He has amassed 2,140 runs in T20 Internationals, the highest by any batsman in the history of the shortest version of the game. He is the first and, so far, the only player to have scored two hundreds and 2,000 runs in T20Is.
His innings of 302 runs against India in 2014 made him the first New Zealand cricketer to score a triple hundred in the longest version of the game. In the same year, McCullum went on to become the first New Zealand batsman to amass 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year.
McCullum's 185 against Bangladesh in 2010 is also the highest score ever by a New Zealand wicket-keeper in Test cricket. During the 2015 World Cup, the New Zealand captain smashed a 25-ball 77 against England, recording the fastest fifty in tournament's history (18-ball 51), and the fourth fastest overall in ODI history.
He also became the first New Zealand captain to lead his team to the World Cup finals, by putting the six semifinals losses in the past. In the ongoing Test at Hagley Oval, McCullum featured in his 101th Test match and smashed his 103rd six to surpass Adam Gilchrist's record of most sixes in the longest format.
McCullum has now become only the second player since Australia's Jason Gillespie (201* against Bangladesh) to score a hundred in his final Test match.
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Wow, that's some way to say good-bye! "I think I'll help myself to a 54 ball century"!! #BrendonMcCullum. Playing his best cricket!- Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 20, 2016
Every Test cricketer, at some stage feeling frustrated in the change room , has thought I should have just tee'd off..."Brendon McCullum" ✅- Shaun Pollock (@7polly7) February 20, 2016
Can't think of a better way to bow out of your sport..Baz McCullum has delivered what can only be described as a genius farewell..#NZvAUS- Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 20, 2016