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Brendon McCullum has been unveiled as the new head coach of England’s men’s Test side.
Pending visa approvals, McCullum will arrive in the UK in time to lead a three-Test series against his home country New Zealand next month.
Here we take a deeper look at the appointment.
What can England expect from McCullum?
Attack-minded but also selfless in pursuit of his goals, McCullum put in motion the philosophy as New Zealand captain that transformed the Black Caps’ fortunes from also-rans to winners of the inaugural World Test Championship, under Kane Williamson last year.
Eoin Morgan has widely acknowledged that he modelled England’s white-ball rejuvenation on the New Zealand side that McCullum led to the final of the 2015 50-over World Cup.
Is he not be a better fit for the white-ball role?
When he came into the frame, it was widely interpreted that he would take up the position as limited-overs coach. McCullum has never been a head coach of a first-class team.
And he developed a close friendship over the years with Morgan, with the pair forming a coach-captain axis at the Kolkata Knight Riders, who finished as runners-up in last year’s Indian Premier League.
So why has he been given the Test role?
England’s Test side is in urgent need of repair after a run of one win in their last 17 Tests. And Rob Key, director of England men’s cricket, believes McCullum’s style will fit well with new skipper Ben Stokes and create “a formidable coach and captain partnership”.
What about McCullum’s IPL role?
Key previously indicated having a role in the IPL would not be a barrier to taking one of the England coaching roles. But McCullum will give up his role with the Knight Riders.
Was he the obvious choice?
No. Gary Kirsten, who coached India to the 2011 World Cup and his native South Africa to the top of the world Test rankings the following year, was widely tipped as the early favourite.
After all, his CV is glittering and he had expressed an interest when England were floundering in the Ashes, where a 4-0 defeat led to the sacking of Chris Silverwood.
Could Kirsten take over as white-ball coach?
Kirsten’s standing in the game and a level-headed demeanour means he could yet excel alongside Morgan with England’s one-day international and Twenty20 sides. But who will take that role is still to be determined.
Are there any other contenders?
Paul Collingwood, who oversaw England’s red and white-ball legs in the West Indies recently, is also in the running, as is former Australia batter Simon Katich.
But McCullum’s appointment is a left-field choice so it would not be a surprise if another unexpected candidate comes to the fore.