Sir Andrew Strauss, strategic advisor of The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), revealed that the newly appointed Test coach Brendon McCullum exerted a strong influence during the interview process and mentioned that the selection panel was ‘blown away by his ambitions for the team.
The 40-year-old was appointed for the role on Thursday as the ECB placed a risky bet on the New Zealander, who holds coaching expertise only in the white-ball format. McCullum has never coached a Test team, and his experiences include his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL along with their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders. “I’m delighted and I’m excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach. He’s a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in that 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,” Strauss told Sky Sports.
McCullum holds the experience of leading the Black Caps in the Test format as the skipper of the side and represented the team in 101 Test matches. He played a major role in the growth and development of the team as a whole and helped transform New Zealand’s game by laying the groundwork for their World Test Championship victory last year. Of all the candidates who had applied for the role, Strauss believes McCullum was the ‘perfect person for the role and feels that he can play a big role in taking English Test cricket to new heights. England has been going through a bad phase in the traditional format and has managed to win only one game out of their previous 17 fixtures.
“[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 realize how good they are. I think he’s the perfect person to do that,” he further stated. McCullum’s stint as the coach will begin when England host New Zealand in the upcoming three-match series at home starting June 02.