Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has hailed the "great leadership qualities" of Tim Southee, saying not many have the cricketing brains that the pacer, who is captaining the side against India in the T20I series, possesses.
Southee, who was named skipper for the three T20Is against India after Kane Williamson decided to skip the series to focus on Tests, has captained New Zealand in 18 T20Is, winning 12 and losing six.
"He also has such great leadership qualities. He's got presence, he's got quite a warm personality as well and he's able to work with the players. They really respect his leadership and his cricketing brain," McCullum, who has captained New Zealand in all formats, said on SENZ Breakfast.
"In terms of cricketing brains, there's very few who have the cricketing brains that Tim Southee possesses."
Interestingly, New Zealand have lost both their T20Is against India under Southee's captaincy during the five-match T20I series in January last year.
"He wouldn't be considered as good a leader as some, because maybe he doesn't always conform," said McCullum, who has played 101 Tests, 260 ODIs and 71 T20Is for New Zealand, scoring a total of 14,676 runs across formats.
"He is prepared to challenge, which I see that as a strength for leadership, whereas some coaching structures see that as disruptive. He's always been a fantastic bloke he'll do a fabulous job."
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead too heaped praise on Southee as he captains the side against India in the opening T20I on Wednesday.
"Tim's done quite a bit of captaincy in the T20 team, in particular when Kane (Williamson) hasn't been there or has been rested from that in the last year or so. So, another good experience for him and he's a fantastic leader in our group."