England have started their third and final Test against New Zealand in terrific fashion, having taken five wickets on day 1 of the match at Leeds. England have been benefited from their ultra-aggressive approach early on in the stint of Brendon McCullum, who arrived from Indian Premier League franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders.
While McCullum hasn’t given many interviews since taking up the job, he spoke to New Zealand-based SENZ Radio about the impact of culture change that there has been in the dressing room and how new captain Ben Stokes’ ideas align with him in the new era for English cricket.
“I think where Stokesy’s at in his career, and his aspirations as a leader and where he sees his team needs to go, it aligns beautifully to his personality and also to mine,” McCullum told SENZ Radio.
“The danger probably was that we’d be too similar. But I think both of us have got such motivation to try and improve the side that we give and take in the areas we need to, and we try and ensure that we surround ourselves with leaders within the group as well, both on the field and also support staff who can fill in some of the gaps where we may not be as strong as well,” He further added.
McCullum delved into the idea of how he and Stokes bounce off each other. He stated that it was important to understand that either of them are not perfect and finding the middle ground for the direction of success, they both want for the England team.
“So understanding that we’re not the perfect products either, but I think being able to bounce off each other and to also push each other towards the danger, as well because sometimes even you have doubts. But if you’re able to have that filtering system between both the captain and the coach and to remain on task with what we’re trying to achieve and the direction that we want to go, I think it gives you a better chance of ensuring that there’s consistency with that message,” McCullum said.
England managed an incredible victory in the second Test match against New Zealand, chasing down a huge target in the final day. McCullum said that in the dressing room talk ahead of the start of play, he echoed the sentiments of the captain, which had terrific results on the team.
“… I was echoing the sentiments of the skipper really, his messaging has been incredibly powerful and simple, trying to remove the fear of failure,” he said
“I couldn’t have asked for a more receptive dressing room than what we’ve had in the last two Test matches. But a lot of that is down to the skipper, his way and his methods are very much aligned to mine,” he said about the England team and Stokes in particular.
England are currently taking on New Zealand in the final Test match of the series, and then will move to white ball format against India, where McCullum would not be coaching the team.