England coach Brendon McCullum praises England test captain Ben Stokes and claims that Stokes has already exceeded expectations after the series win against New Zealand.
Brendon McCullum Praises Ben Stokes
In the 3-match Test series, England under Ben Stokes beats New Zealand in all three matches and lifts the trophy.
“The World Test Champions were a formidable opponent and the alarm bells have probably gone off somewhat around world cricket as to how this team is going to play,” McCullum said after England’s win in Headingley.
“We need to make sure (that) against a different opposition, we’re well researched, well planned, well prepared, and try and roll out a similar kind of performance.”
“I hope we take it too far because then we’ll know exactly where that line is,” McCullum said.
Until you do that, you’re not really sure. We’ve seen it with the England white-ball stuff. There have been times where they’ve probably pushed too hard, and then they know. I think it’ll be the same with us and we’ve got to keep exploring what that line is.
“There will be some tough times, I have no doubt about that. We will have to be strong in our belief about the direction we are heading. Do that, bank the good times, we will be in a position that is stronger when the tough times do come. You don’t want to throw all the good work out to try and fix a bad performance.”
McCullum was all praise for Ben Stokes and said the captain had him covered when it came to being aggressive and passing on the message to the team.
“I thought Ben would be good as captain, I did,” McCullum said. “I think the timing of him getting the captaincy is perfect. I know it’s early days, but he’s exceeded my expectations already to be honest. I’m aggressive but he’s got me covered, which is saying something.
“He (Stokes) has been superb (in his first series), his messaging has been very consistent and very articulate as well. When we’re fielding, he’s constantly making plays. It means at least we’re in control regardless of what the scoreboard says.
When he’s batting, he’s pushing the envelope which is sending a message to not just our dressing room but to other dressing rooms around the world that this is how we’re going to play.
“The skipper has taken them on a journey, I’ve tried to fill in the gaps where needed and they’ve got instant gratification for that change. It doesn’t always happen. But that’s why those guys are so keen on this style.
“I’m aggressive but he’s got me covered, which is saying something. I’ll give you an example: on the fourth evening, we needed 296 and there were 40 overs left in the day, plus the extra half hour, so 47 overs.
His message to the group was ‘knock this off tonight’. I was like, “Oooff! okay!” I mean we obviously didn’t knock it off that night, but it was the mentality in his message which was trying to free the guys up.
It said ‘we’re chasing the win, don’t put any sort of restrictions on yourself, just go and take the game on”.
How will young cricketers in the county circuit take to England’s groundbreaking style of play, especially with the bat?
The head coach is hoping that the aggression trickles down and more and more people see the kind of players England will be looking at in times to come.
“We can’t impose any of that stuff on them as well, because they’ve got things that they want to achieve, but I think you’ll see if we can build this and we have success doing it, you see the type of player (we want),” McCullum said.
“If I was a young player around county cricket and I saw what our No.5 for England is currently doing and the role and how he’s encouraged to play that way, then I’d probably look at trying to play like that myself to ensure that I would get noticed as well, in case something was to happen to that person.
“You hope that it filters down, you certainly can’t be belligerent enough to think that it will always be the case. I think that we’ve already seen with county cricket scores over the past couple of days that maybe that positivity has filtered down.”
Following the series victory, England will face India to play a rescheduled test match on July 1. In addition to the test match, India’s tour of England 2022 compromises 3 T20I and 3 ODI matches.