Kiwi legend Brendon McCullum emerges as favorite for new England Test coach


The former New Zealand skipper, an inspiration for the white-ball resurgence in England, could get a chance to have a big say on the red-ball side too

Brendon McCullum was one of New Zealand’s finest Test cricketers

New Zealand legend Brendon McCullum has emerged as the new favorite to be named England Test coach this week.

And the 40-year-old could form a dream team partnership with Ben Stokes as captain, as two men who share similar positive outlooks on the game and how to take it forward.

South African Gary Kirsten was seen as a front-runner for the Test job, while McCullum was mentioned as a possible coach for the white-ball team thanks to his experience leading Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and his leadership by New Zealand over 50 in 2015 beat the World Cup finalist.

But that ignores his Test pedigree, in which he played 101 times for the Blackcaps and listed them as captain 31 times. And with perfect timing, Lord’s could stage a remarkable reunion with McCullum’s debut match set to take on his compatriots on June 2, with the New Zealand-born Stokes leading the team.

McCullum’s name has often been used in connection with his good friend Eoin Morgan, England’s 50+ world champion captain, who captained KKR under him last year.

Brendon McCullum scored the fastest Test century ever in his final game


Ryan Pierse)

He admits he was inspired by McCullum as he revolutionized England’s white ball setup and he also had a strong influence on new manager Rob Key.

Key revealed that he had sought Morgan’s advice not only on White Ball, but on Red Ball as well. In his first media conference Key said: “Actually, I also spoke to Eoin about red ball cricket, not saying that he will be captain, but I asked his opinion. I said you want good people with good minds to work things out around you, so Eoin Morgan is someone I would talk to about so many different things.”

Good friends Eoin Morgan and Brendon McCullum could soon be sharing the same employer again


Action pics via Reuters / Henry Browne)

McCullum could become a global superstar thanks to his white ball exploits as one of the most destructive batters in the game, starting the IPL with 158 in the very first match.

But the former keeper batsman has also enjoyed a stellar career in Test cricket, not least in relation to his leadership, which laid the foundation for New Zealand’s rise to the top of the red-ball game, most recently becoming the inaugural winner of the Test World Cup was year.

McCullum, along with coach Mike Hesson, with whom he worked as captain, is credited with the resurgence of New Zealand cricket in all forms of cricket after controversially replacing Ross Taylor as skipper in 2012. But it turned out to be a tour de force as Blackcaps began their journey to a World Cup final and notable Test victories against India in 2014 and Sri Lanka.

McCullum retired from Test cricket in 2016, scoring the fastest century ever with just 54 balls against Australia. He describes Test cricket as the purest form of the game and clearly has great respect for its traditions, but he was a modern player who embraced the game wherever possible.

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