Brendon McCullum: Ben Stokes a ‘follow me’ captain | England can lead Test cricket revival | Cricket News


England’s new era with Brendon McCullum as head coach and Ben Stokes as captain begins on June 2 in the first Test against New Zealand; watch England’s three-Test series against New Zealand live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 27/05/22 12:09pm

Brendon McCullum is excited to be working with new England Test captain Ben Stokes

Brendon McCullum is excited to be working with new England Test captain Ben Stokes

Brendon McCullum is in no doubt Ben Stokes has the perfect attributes to be England captain and is excited to be working with him in his new role as the men’s Test team’s head coach.

All-rounder Stokes was named as Joe Root’s successor as skipper at the end of April, followed by former New Zealand international McCullum being appointed to lead the team off the field just over two weeks ago.

The 40-year-old is now preparing England to take on his homeland in the first match of a three-Test series at Lord’s which starts on June 2, live on Sky Sports, and believes Stokes is the ideal person to lead the team into a new era.

England Test head coach Brendon McCullum says Ben Stokes is absolutely the right man to lead England as captain, but expects a few robust conversations at times

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England Test head coach Brendon McCullum says Ben Stokes is absolutely the right man to lead England as captain, but expects a few robust conversations at times

England Test head coach Brendon McCullum says Ben Stokes is absolutely the right man to lead England as captain, but expects a few robust conversations at times

“I’ve loved watching Stokesy play cricket over the years,” McCullum told Sky Sports News. “He’s one of those real characters of the game for who the harder it is, the more they step up.

“Some people are born with those qualities, and I think he’s certainly one of those guys. I’m looking forward to working with him and there are going to be some robust conversations at times. I’ll probably have to be more plugging of gaps sometimes rather than in some previous roles I’ve had in leadership or captaincy, where I’ve probably been a bit more like Stokesy at times.

“I don’t coach technically. I understand the techniques, but for me it’s more around man-management and trying to provide the right environment for the team to go out and be the best versions of themselves.

“With Stokesy as captain, we’ve got a very strong leader – a real ‘follow me’ type of captain – and my job will be to ensure we’re consistent with our messaging, look after the guys inside the environment as well and try to allow them to grow at a speed they might not have got to previously, so it’s a good challenge.”

He’s one of those real characters of the game for who the harder it is, the more they step up. Some people are born with those qualities, and I think he’s certainly one of those guys.

Brendon McCullum on Ben Stokes

McCullum’s appointment to oversee the Test team raised a few eyebrows when it was announced, given how his previous coaching experience has been with T20 sides Trinbago Knight Riders and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League and Indian Premier League respectively.

A hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman, he was particularly renowned in limited-overs cricket during his playing days too, but also gained 101 Test caps for New Zealand and underlined how he feels a strong England team could help revitalise the longest format of the game.

“If you look at my career as well, I was able to play a fair amount of red-ball cricket as well and while I’ve been lucky enough to earn a good living out of the white-ball game around the world and franchise cricket, for me red-ball cricket has always been the pinnacle of the sport,” McCullum said.

“If you look at where the game probably fits currently, it’s on a slightly downward trend and, for me, the nation that can really change that is England because of the tradition of Test cricket here and the fan following and support it gets in this country.

England's new Test head coach Brendon McCullum hopes his team can help restore the popularity of red ball cricket

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England’s new Test head coach Brendon McCullum hopes his team can help restore the popularity of red ball cricket

England’s new Test head coach Brendon McCullum hopes his team can help restore the popularity of red ball cricket

“For us to be competitive in Test cricket will hopefully go a long way to shifting a little bit the perception of red-ball cricket going forward.”

McCullum takes over with England sitting at No 6 in the ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings and bottom of the 2021-23 World Test Championship table following the drubbing in last winter’s Ashes series in Australia and the series defeat in the West Indies earlier this year.

While he admits there is an element of risk to his appointment and that it will take time to turn around the team’s fortunes though, he is enthused by the talent he sees in English cricket.

“I’m confident in the skills I’ve got and the group we have to start things off as well,” McCullum said. “It will take me a little while to become completely adjusted to some of the methods and ways over here, and it might take some time for guys to adjust to me.

Nasser Hussain says he is excited to see what impact the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum partnership as captain and coach will have on the England Test side

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Nasser Hussain says he is excited to see what impact the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum partnership as captain and coach will have on the England Test side

Nasser Hussain says he is excited to see what impact the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum partnership as captain and coach will have on the England Test side

“But I’m looking forward to it, it was a big risk taken by everyone, but you don’t get anywhere unless you’re prepared to take a couple of risks in life.

“You look at the players around English cricket, there is so much talent there. There are some guys who have probably been disengaged and some guys who are yet to be discovered as well.

“It’s certainly not short on talent and when you add some world-class players who have had incredible careers, it became an appealing target.”





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