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Brendon McCullum: England can be the nation to reverse Test cricket’s fortunes

Brendon McCullum has set his sights on returning England to world number one (Victoria Jones/PA)
Brendon McCullum has set his sights on returning England to world number one (Victoria Jones/PA)

Brendon McCullum believes England can reverse the “downward trend” of red-ball cricket across the globe.

The former New Zealand captain has been appointed head coach of the England Test team in a bid to improve their fortunes, with just one win in their last 17 matches.

“I think for me red-ball cricket has always been the pinnacle of the sport, if you look at where the game sits currently, it’s probably on a bit of a downward trend and to me the nation that can really change that is England,” McCullum told Sky Sports.

“Because of the tradition of Test cricket here in England and I guess the fan following and the support that it gets in this country.

Ben Stokes has been named as Test captain
Ben Stokes has been named as Test captain (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“For us to be competitive in Test cricket, I think will go a long way in trying to be able to hopefully just shift that a little bit in terms of the perception of red-ball cricket moving forward.”

McCullum also hailed new Test captain Ben Stokes as a “really strong leader”, and admitted he will not be a hands-on technical coach.

“I certainly don’t coach technically. I understand the technique obviously but for me it’s more around tactics and man-management and trying to provide the right environment for the team to try and go out there and be the best versions of themselves,” the 40-year-old said.

“So I think with Stokesy as captain we’ve got a really strong leader, a ‘follow me’ type of captain and so I think my job will be to try and ensure that we’re consistent with a lot of our messaging.

“I’ll look after the guys inside the environment as well and try and allow them to really grow at a speed which they might not have got to previously, so it’s a big challenge.”

McCullum admits it was a “big risk” for everyone involved to hand him the job but he believes in his own abilities despite his limited red-ball coaching experience.

“I’m confident in the skills that I’ve got and I’m confident in the group that we have to start things off as well,” he said.

“Obviously it might take a little while to become completely adjusted to the methods and the ways over here and it might take some time for guys to become adjusted to me as well, but I’m looking forward to it.

“For me it was a big risk taken by everyone but, for me, you don’t get anywhere unless you take risks.”