Brendon McCullum ‘knocked his interview out of the park’ as new England Test coach excites Andrew Strauss
Strauss, as a former captain, managing director and now advisor to the ECB Board, was part of the panel that appointed McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, yesterday.
England’s Test revolution is starting to take shape after another Ashes defeat, with Ben Stokes installed as captain, Rob Key as MD, and now McCullum in post for the first Test of the summer, against New Zealand at Lord’s. It is expected that Paul Collingwood will be named as his white-ball counterpart next week.
Strauss said McCullum cannot wait to link up with England, who have won just one of their last 17 Tests. He is credited with transforming New Zealand’s fortunes as captain across all formats between 2013 and 2016.
“I know Brendon is just so excited about the prospect of coming out her and not just taking the England team forward, but taking Test cricket forward as well,” he told talkSPORT. "It’s an exciting time.
“I was involved in the interview process and he knocked it out the park. But these appointments aren’t about interviews, they’re about approach, and the reputation people have. He’s the sort of guy the players will look up to. He will be able to show them the way. He has done that with New Zealand as captain, in the short-format tournaments he’s been involved with. He’s going to make a massive impact on English cricket.
“I just think he has such clarity of thought and approach. He keeps the game very simple, but has a positive intent in everything he does, that is exactly what the England Test team needs at the moment. They need good strong leadership, some direction. I think he will work exceptionally well with Ben Stokes, that’s exciting. And Rob Key, as the director of cricket, it aligns with his philosophy as well. Everything feels quite nicely connected.”
Strauss said, however, that England fans should not expect a transformation overnight.
“It is going to take time,” he said. “I don’t think anyone should expect for overnight a switch to be flicked and we’ll be the world’s best. But I believe in the approach.
“We can’t be fearful, we can’t be hesitant, we can’t be looking to survive. We have to go out and land a few blows of our own. It’s the start of a new era. The Ashes defeat was painful for everyone to watch. Now we have the right people in place to take it forward.”
Strauss, as interim MD, dropped James Anderson and Stuart Broad for March’s tour of West Indies, but expects them to play again this summer.
“They are up for selection and will be determined to prove there is life in the old dog yet,” he said. “This summer is about winning. We have some tough series against New Zealand, India, South Africa and we have to get a few wins in that column.”