Brendon McCollum, coach of the New England Men’s Test team, hopes to help his team regain popularity in red ball cricket
England’s Brendon McCullum wants to revive test cricket during his tenure as men’s head coach – claiming that world red ball is in “big problem” if Ben Stokes’ team is not “competitive and watchable”.
McCollum takes charge, as England have won just one of their previous 17 Test matches, slipped to sixth in the rankings and slipped to the bottom of the World Test Championship.
Former New Zealand captain Sky Sports England’s Michael Atherton is the only team that can reverse what he calls a “slightly downward trajectory” to longest form.
england vs new zealand
June 2, 2022, 10:00 AM
McCullum’s first test is against his native New Zealand, the World Test Champion Defenders, at Lord’s from Thursday, a match you can watch live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am.
Durham speed shooter Matthew Potts will make his Test debut, joining James Anderson and Stewart Broad in the Speed Attack.
McCollum said: “Test cricket needs England to be strong, competitive and play a style of cricket that can be seen. Otherwise, they are in big trouble.
‘England can inspire the next generation of test cricketers’
“I think Test cricket has been on a bit of a downward trajectory and the only people who can really change them are England. The appreciation of Test cricket in this part of the world, history.
McCollum says Ben Stokes is the right man for England’s captain
“They have a real opportunity to make a meaningful difference and hopefully inspire the next generation of cricketers to play Test cricket instead of T20 or the shorter forms of the game.
“I made my way into the short version of cricket, but Test cricket has always been the pinnacle for me, the pinnacle of this sport. I know how hard it is.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play for several years and go through the ups and downs. I came out on the other end and still look at it fondly, even through all the lows you go through.”
“It’s a good time to take charge – it’s a huge challenge and a challenge I’m looking forward to,” McCollum said as he considered his appointment.
Stokes spoke to Sky Sports about Ole Pop’s move to third, what Matthew Potts will hold aside and the return of Stewart Broad and Jimmy Anderson
“There is a huge thirst for change in English cricket and players across the group seem ready to take a different direction.
“With Stokesy as captain, you have someone up front and we will try to shape him around his style. I think our personalities are pretty similar in the way we want to see the match.”
“It’s tough to face New Zealand, but I have work to do.”
McCollum says he will find elements of trying to beat New Zealand “difficult” after he played a large role in their rise as a cricketing nation, including guiding them to the 2015 Cricket World Cup Final.
The 40-year-old added: “It’s obviously unique to play New Zealand first, a team I know so well, not just tactically but personally.
“I’ve been involved a lot as a captain and more recently as a friend and a bit of a mentor to some of them. It’s going to be tough no doubt, but I have a job to do.
New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner says it will be strange to face McCollum when they face England
“This job is to give England the best chance of becoming the best team in the world. It won’t happen right away, but there is a path we will try to take. Trying to beat New Zealand is part of that journey.”
McCollum initially appeared to be the favorite for the whiteball coaching role once England’s new general manager of men’s cricket Rob Key chose to split the posts.
New Zealander and World Cup-winning white ball captain Ewen Morgan shares a strong friendship, while his previous coaching experience was limited in cricket.
McCollum: Risky business, but I like big challenges
McCollum said: “The English white football team is looking to go from good to great.
“Maybe my skills are a little more suitable for trying to get a team out of a tight spot and to plan something long term.
Job wasn’t even on Rob’s radar [Key] call me.
“I had a lot of variety in my life – working in the media, a little IPL training – but then I started thinking about the opportunity and it became exciting and attractive.
“It’s a risk for me but you have to take a risk in life and I think it’s worth it.
“People would be a little surprised if a Cavalier player from T20 took on the daunting task of coaching the England Test team, but people who know me know I love a big challenge.”
Watch the first test between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday.
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