International commitments rule McCullum out of BBL


Brendon McCullum will focus all his attentions on New Zealand in the coming months after pulling out of this season's Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.

The explosive batsman was set to light up the BBL for Brisbane Heat in the upcoming Twenty20 competition, playing under former international colleague Daniel Vettori.

However, New Zealand face a busy couple of months with Sri Lanka arriving on tour next week and Pakistan playing one-day internationals and T20 from mid-January.

Those two international commitments mean McCullum have little time to play in the first of a three-year contract with Brisbane, leading to the franchise signing West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons as his replacement.

"Brendon, the Heat and New Zealand Cricket have worked hard at things, but in the end, his commitment to the Black Caps is the priority at this time and we accept that," Vettori told the team's official website.

"The fans will naturally be disappointed and we certainly acknowledge that feeling. Brendon signed a three-year deal originally and we had hoped circumstances would allow more matches this year than has turned out.

"I know he was keen to get back to Brisbane again and so we will certainly be looking to achieve that in the future with the remaining two years of his contract.

"We are pleased though to be able to sign such a talented batsman as Lendl Simmons. Having coached against him in the IPL and played against him in the Caribbean Premier League, I know he is a match-winner."