McCullum hopes ‘attractive brand of Test cricket’ can see red-ball game thrive

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Brendon McCullum believes his goal of transforming the fortunes of England’s Test side as head coach can help safeguard the future of the format.

The New Zealander has been appointed to halt the decline of a team that has won just one of its last 17 matches and will report for duty at the end of this month to begin work with new captain Ben Stokes.

McCullum was one of the most buccaneering players around during his on-field career and he is confident that making England a competitive, attractive outfit can provide a lift to the wider Test game.

Speaking in an in-house interview with the England and Wales Cricket Board, he said: “Test cricket has always been the pinnacle for me and maybe the popularity of it has somehow trended south of late.

“If red-ball cricket is to not just sustain but to thrive, it needs England to be playing an attractive brand of Test cricket, which is competing with Australia, India, New Zealand. It’s a big, lofty goal but it’s what is in front of us.

“That is what enthused me, if we can get that right, to get England back to where they – where we – should be, which is top of the pile. Challenging the best teams in the world, playing the brand that appeals to the next generation of talent, then we’re able to get Test cricket to a stage where kids are wanting to play it rather than just the short versions.”

Turning his message to the fans of his adopted country, he added: “If we can achieve the ambitions both Stokesy and myself have, it’s going to be a team that is certainly worth following.

“Hopefully we can play that kind of entertaining – I won’t say cavalier, because that’s probably what other people expect us to do – cricket.

Former Australia Women's coach Matthew Mott will work parallel to McCullum as white-ball coach.
Former Australia Women’s coach Matthew Mott will work parallel to McCullum as white-ball coach. (Mark Kerton/PA)

McCullum also spoke of his close relationship with England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan, revealing the pair speak on a daily basis, and described his new limited-overs counterpart Matthew Mott as a “really astute coach” who operates “without ego”.

On the sharing of multi-format players, he added: “Our relationship will be good. There’ll be times when we fight over players, no doubt, but we’ll try and come to the right decision for the player and the right decision for English cricket.”

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