A lot of apprehensions were there when former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum took over the reign of coaching the English Test team. It was a decision that came out of the blue, considering the nation’s ‘safe’ approach in the longest format.
However, with the new skipper, Ben Stokes, it was always meant to be that the Three Lions would play an aggressive brand of cricket. McCullum coming on board only intensified their approach, with the results right in front of everyone.
"I couldn't have asked for a more receptive dressing room than what we've had in the last two Test matches. But a lot of that is down to the skipper, his way and his methods are very much aligned to mine,” McCullum told SENZ Radio.
England rolled over New Zealand in the opening two Tests under McCullum’s tutelage. McCullum stated that he couldn’t have asked for a more receptive dressing room and insisted that Stokes’ method of captaincy is aligned in the same manner.
“I think where Stokesy's at in his career, and his aspirations as a leader and where he sees his team needs to go, it aligns beautifully to his personality and also to mine," McCullum added.
"The danger probably was that we'd be too similar. But I think both of us have got such motivation to try and improve the side that we give and take in the areas we need to, and we try and ensure that we surround ourselves with leaders within the group as well, both on the field and also support staff who can fill in some of the gaps where we may not be as strong as well.
The fear of failure in the dressing room
While not stating what went in the dressing room before the epic run-chase in the second Test, McCullum insisted that it was an attempt to remove the fear of failure from the dressing room.
"I don't want to go too much into kind of what we what we said because it's sacred in the dressing room," said McCullum. "But I was echoing the sentiments of the skipper really, his messaging has been incredibly powerful and simple, trying to remove the fear of failure
England have massively fallen down the cliff in the last few years in the red-ball format. McCullum insists that playing a risky brand of cricket would help England thrive for the years coming, stating that it would give them the chance of being highly competitive.
"And so, the messaging is from both angles, coach and a captain, I think it is able to resonate a lot more often. And with a lot more authenticity, which is able to permeate right throughout the group.
So, there was a little snapshot, it's not always going to work, we're going to get beat at some point as well, trying to play the same method. But that's what's going to give us our greatest chance to ensure that England is competitive and that England is able to be at the top of the tree in Test cricket and ultimately will allow Test cricket to hopefully continue to thrive."