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India a land of opportunity, we want to be the bravest: Brendon McCullum

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Last updated on 23 Jan 2024 | 06:06 AM
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India a land of opportunity, we want to be the bravest: Brendon McCullum

England arrive in India for a five-match Test series after a preparatory camp in Abu Dhabi

England have arrived on Indian shores ahead of the first Test against India in Hyderabad, starting Thursday (January 25) and look at the series as a terrific opportunity to succeed by playing their aggressive style of cricket.

"India is the land of opportunity and that's what sits in front of us now, we'll take the positive option. Other teams might be better, but we want to be the bravest. We've got to do that and that's got to be factored into selection, too," England head coach Brendon McCullum said ahead of the series opener.

England arrived in Hyderabad at the back of a preparatory camp in Abu Dhabi. Speaking of their preparation, McCullum said, "The guys walked away from Abu Dhabi with a huge amount of confidence that we've prepared as well as we possibly can.

"In the end all you're trying to do is get guys in the frame of mind where they feel 10 foot tall and bulletproof when they walk out to play."

India have not lost a series at home since 2012 and it was England who were the last team to win here. They can certainly take comfort from that fact, but McCullum, who has received mixed reviews over his side's style of play, prefers to keep it simple.

"We've got to take 20 wickets with the ball in each Test and we've got to get one more run than them with the bat. It's not rocket science but it will be the nuances of the game and when to stick and when to twist which will be the fascinating part," the former New Zealand captain said.

Given that skipper Ben Stokes will play solely as a specialist batter, England have some thinking to do as far as their bowling combination is concerned. Moreover, they also found out recently that Harry Brook will not be part of the series due to personal reasons. This could give both Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow an opportunity to be in the XI with the former donning the gloves.

Whether they go in with three pacers and two spinners or three spinners and two pacers is to be seen, Either way, they also have the part-time off-spin option of Joe Root, who picked up a fifer the last time they toured India.

In the spin department, only Jack Leach boasts of significant experience and is  most likely to have young leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed to support him. They also have the uncapped duo of Tom Hartley, the left-arm orthodox spinner and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir if needed.

"What balance we go for in terms of the side we'll work out in the coming days, but the thing we need to be is really brave with whatever we decide," is what McCullum said of the combination.

After the first Test in Hyderabad, the action will move to Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala for the remainder of the series and will conclude on March 11.

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