Strauss: McCullum 'perfect person' for England transformation

By Sports Desk May 13, 2022

Brendon McCullum is the "perfect person" to turn around England's Test fortunes, according to Andrew Strauss, who was a part of the selection panel for the new men's head coach.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, leading to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes stepping up as skipper in April.

Former opener Rob Key was also appointed as managing director of men's cricket and was tasked with reshaping the faltering structure to make England competitive once more in the five-day game.

As well as confirming Stokes as captain, a decision was made to hire separate coaches for the red ball and limited-overs sides, with McCullum announced as Test coach on Thursday.

The decision represents somewhat of a gamble as New Zealand legend McCullum has only ever coached T20 franchises in the form of Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

However, McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand and captained the side through a transformative period, and Strauss believes the 40-year-old is a great appointment by England.

"I'm delighted and I'm excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach," the England and Wales Cricket Board's strategic adviser Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He's a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in the Test team at a time when confidence is a bit low and people need a bit of clarity and direction.

"He's an impressive guy. He can't wait to start and, quite frankly, I can't wait for him to start.

"[As a player] he was incredibly ambitious, he used to run down the wicket against some of the quickest bowlers in the world.

"He always took the positive option, he wasn't scared of failing, he wasn't scared of making mistakes and I think that is what this Test team needs at the moment.

"They need someone to back them, to give them confidence and inspire them, and they need to break the shackles and realise how good they are. I think he's the perfect person to do that."

McCullum's first task will see England host his country of birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts at Lord's on June 2.

Related items

  • West Indies seal 2-0 series win over Bangladesh with comprehensive 10-wicket victory in second Test West Indies seal 2-0 series win over Bangladesh with comprehensive 10-wicket victory in second Test

    The West Indies secured 2-0 series victory over Bangladesh after a comprehensive 10-wicket win on day four of the second Test at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia on Monday.

    Bangladesh started day four 132-6, trailing the Windies by 42 runs with Nurul Hasan on 16 and Mehidy Hasan yet to score.

    After the entire morning session was delayed by rain and a wet outfield, proceedings got underway after lunch with the Windies quickly cleaning up the Bangladesh tail with the wickets of Mehidy Hasan (4), Ebadot Hossain (0), Shoriful Islam (0) and Khaled Ahmed (0).

    Nurul Hasan was the only batsman to offer any resistance for Bangladesh with an aggressive 60 not out off 50 balls as the tourists were dismissed for 186 with Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales doing the damage with three wickets each.

    Needing just 13 runs to win, West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell made short work of the total to secure the win and a 2-0 series triumph.

    Final Scores: Bangladesh 234 and 186, West Indies 408 and 13-0.

  • Billings added to England squad for rescheduled Test with India, Crawley retained Billings added to England squad for rescheduled Test with India, Crawley retained

    Sam Billings has been added to England's squad for the rescheduled Test against India at Edgbaston, while Zak Crawley has retained his place despite struggling for form.

    Kent captain Billings was drafted in as a COVID substitute for Ben Foakes on the fourth day of England's third Test against New Zealand, which concluded on Monday.

    Billings' main contribution in the seven-wicket triumph was a bizarre caught-behind off Neil Wagner that he wedged between his knees.

    He is now in line for a third Test appearance, though Foakes may yet feature as he is due out of isolation on Thursday, a day out from the India Test beginning in Birmingham.

    The addition of Billings is the only change made by England, who have kept faith in Crawley at the top of the order, despite some unconvincing showings against New Zealand.

    Crawley finished the three-match series with 87 runs and was at fault for the comical run-out of opening partner Alex Lees in his side's second innings of the final Test.

    India lead England 2-1 ahead of the final Test, which originally scheduled to be played last September but was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

    The tourists announced on Monday that Mayank Agarwal has been called up after captain Rohit Sharma tested positive for coronavirus.

  • Williamson still has 'appetite' for New Zealand captaincy after series whitewash to England Williamson still has 'appetite' for New Zealand captaincy after series whitewash to England

    New Zealand captain Kane Williamson insists he still has the "appetite" to lead the Black Caps amid questions over his tenure following a 3-0 Test series whitewash against England.

    Former Black Caps bowler Simon Doull, who played 32 Tests for his country before moving into commentary, suggested he would like to see Williamson relinquish the captaincy to focus on his batting.

    That was prior to the third Test at Headingley, where England eased to their 296 target and became the first team to chase down 250 or more three times in a single series.

    Williamson scored 31 in the first innings in Leeds and 48 in the second, but has passed 50 just once in his last 10 Test innings since crafting 238 against Pakistan in January 2021 at Christchurch.

    Tom Latham, who stepped up when Williamson was absent at Trent Bridge, has been mooted as the next New Zealand skipper, but the Black Caps captain insists he is committed to the task at hand.

    "We opted for the balance of the side to go with three seamers," Williamson said.

    "We were curious to whether it would turn, but it's just one of those things. We made the decision not to play the spinner, but it wasn't the easiest to bat on at any time.

    "It would have been nice for the top four to contribute a bit more, and that's an area we want to be contributing more from.

    "I certainly love playing for this group and being their leader. It has been an interesting time and challenging, but the appetite is still there from me."

    Michael Bracewell was selected ahead of Ajaz Patel and went for 163 in just 22.3 overs across the two innings, picking up two wickets.

    While Williamson defended the decision on his spinners, he pointed to the aggressive approach of a new-look England side under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum as the difference in the series.

    "It's been an incredible series. In all three matches we had our opportunities and we were ahead of the game at times in each one but credit to England, they chose to counter-attack when they were under pressure and they did it well, especially in this match," he added.

    "It is frustrating to lose the series but there were a lot of positives. There is clearly a new theme to England's approach and they did it extremely well.

    "It was a highly competitive series, but they won those fine margins and those moments that changed the outcome of the matches."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.