New Zealand great Daniel Vettori says Brendon McCullum will retire from international cricket safe in the knowledge that star batsman Kane Williamson is ready to take over as captain.
Williamson is the lead candidate to step in as Black Caps skipper when McCullum stands down early next year, with the 34-year-old announcing today that the two-Test series against Australia in February will be his international swansong.
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Williamson has already been named captain for the World T20 in March and April and is the front-runner to take on the leadership role in all three forms of the game.
Vettori, a long-time teammate of McCullum’s, believes the veteran will depart the international scene confident that the world's No.1 ranked Test batsman is adequately prepared to handle the pressure of captaincy.
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"Knowing the inner machinations of the team, (McCullum) will feel that Kane is ready to step up into the role," Vettori said.
"He's got good leaders around him, like Tim Southee, so I think the team is in good hands.
"If Kane feels like it's the right time to step in and take over that mantle then he'll do a wonderful job."
Williamson's status as one of the best players in the world makes him the logical replacement for McCullum, who has led the side in all three forms of the game since 2012.
The 25-year-old has a vastly different public persona than McCullum; the right-hander is softly-spoken in the media and a quiet accumulator out in the middle, while McCullum is a reserved yet vocal and honest commentator off the field and an exhilarating batsman on it.
Vettori says while Williamson will bring a different dynamic to the side as captain, McCullum's leadership style is sure to have rubbed off in some way.
"He'll do it differently to Brendon, who has been an amazing leader for the team over the last few years and taken them from strength to strength," he said.
"I think (Kane) would have learned a lot from Brendon and it seems like an ideal time to move into that role."
Vettori, who has played in 290 of McCullum's 424 appearances for New Zealand across all forms, says his former teammate's retirement is a time to celebrate rather than lament the departure of one of the country's greatest ever players.
"I'm pleased for him," Vettori said. "To go through such a long career being a wicketkeeper, an opening batsman (and) a captain, he's covered a lot of bases in New Zealand cricket and done an amazing job every time he's played for New Zealand.
"I think people will look at his career fondly and hopefully revel in it rather than worrying about it finishing at this point in time.
"There's so many things to celebrate and I know that's the way Brendon will look at it."
Vettori will be one of the chief beneficiaries of McCullum's international retirement, with his former teammate to join the current Brisbane Heat coach at the KFC Big Bash League franchise for 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.