McCullum aware England appointment a 'big risk' but hopes to transform red-ball cricket

By Sports Desk May 27, 2022

Brendon McCullum concedes England took "a big risk" by appointing him as men's Test coach, but hopes his side can reinvigorate interest in red-ball cricket across the world.

England's new men's managing director Rob Key chose New Zealand great McCullum ahead of the likes of Gary Kirsten and interim coach Paul Collingwood.

McCullum will be tasked with transforming England's fortunes in five-day cricket after just one win in 17 Tests led to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes his replacement.

However, McCullum's experience comes from white-ball cricket, where he has only ever coached T20 franchises; Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

While McCullum acknowledged a seeming lack of experience, the 40-year-old remains confident he can make a noticeable impact for England and cricket on a wider scale.

"I think for me red-ball cricket has always been the pinnacle of the sport, if you look at where the game sits currently, it's probably on a bit of a downward trend and to me the nation that can really change that is England," McCullum told Sky Sports.

"Because of the tradition of Test cricket here in England and I guess the fan following and the support that it gets in this country.

"For us to be competitive in Test cricket I think will go a long way in trying to be able to hopefully just shift that a little bit in terms of the perception of red-ball cricket moving forward.

"I'm confident in the skills that I've got and I'm confident in the group that we have to start things off as well.

“Obviously it might take a little while to become completely adjusted to the methods and the ways over here and it might take some time for guys to become adjusted to me as well, but I'm looking forward to it.

"For me it was a big risk taken by everyone but, for me, you don't get anywhere unless you take risks."

McCullum admitted he will be far from a hands-on coach with the mental aspects of cricket more of interest to him than technique, while he hailed Stokes' leadership.

"I certainly don't coach technically. I understand the technique obviously, but for me it's more around tactics and man-management and trying to provide the right environment for the team to try and go out there and be the best versions of themselves," he added.

"So I think with Stokesy as captain we've got a really strong leader, a 'follow me' type of captain and so I think my job will be to try and ensure that we’re consistent with a lot of our messaging.

"I'll look after the guys inside the environment as well and try and allow them to really grow at a speed which they might not have got to previously, so it's a big challenge."

McCullum faces home country New Zealand in his first Test in charge of England, which starts next Thursday at Lord's.

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