‘Entertaining but not cavalier’ cricket the mantra for new England Test coach Brendon McCullum

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 (Getty Images)
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New Test coach Brendon McCullum has warned England fans against assuming his team will play “cavalier” cricket because of his own style of play.

McCullum is one of the great T20 batters and brings a reputation for hyper-aggression at the crease, but was also a fine Test player who scored a 559-ball 302, New Zealand’s first and hitherto only triple-hundred.

Explaining his rationale for taking the job, McCullum said: “I have always been keen on challenges. I like the idea of being able to build something from a pretty low base. Without being disrespectful to the England setup, the last 12-18 months have been trying times. There is an appetite for change and to recalibrate things.

“The size of that challenge really enthused me and with Stokesy in the chair as skipper, our personalities should align as well.

“Hopefully we can play entertaining… I won’t say cavalier because that is probably what other people expect us to do, but that’s not how I anticipate us playing the game. We will try to put pressure on the opposition when we have bat in hand, understand when the time is right to absorb pressure as well.

“With the ball, we will try to take wickets and in the field we will chase the ball hard. It’s a simple philosophy but if we can get that right with the talent that exists through the English cricket setup, then hopefully we will be able to get the results to trend in the right direction and build something for the long-term.”

McCullum only has responsibility for the Test side, with Australian Matthew Mott looking after the one-day formats. McCullum believes the split is necessary, and predicts the pair will work well together.

“I know Motty really well,” he told the ECB’s website. “He was at [Kolkata Knight Riders] in the early days, when I was playing he was assistant. A very astute coach, coaches without ego, puts the players at the forefront but still has a firm grip over the environment, albeit not a controlling one.

“He’s had tremendous success as a coach in both men’s and women’s cricket. That shows his ability to really connect with a lot of people. He’s a wonderful guy and I’m sure his job is very different to the one I have. He’s trying to take a team which is very, very good, to great, which he has shown in the past he is capable of achieving.

“Our relationship will be very good, there will be times we will fight over players no doubt, but we will try to come to the right decision for the player, but also the right decision for English cricket.”

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