Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has been appointed England’s new Test head coach and will be in place for the start of the international summer.
A new era of English cricket begins with the start of the three-match series against New Zealand at Lord’s on the 2nd of June with McCullum and newly-installed Test captain Ben Stokes at the helm.
The 40-year-old’s previous coaching experience is in T20 cricket – with Trinbago Knight Riders and Kolkata Knight Riders – but he played more than 100 Tests for the Black Caps and is said to have impressed significantly during the interview process.
McCullum will stay with KKR for the final two matches of the IPL season before travelling to the UK ahead of the upcoming Test series – the squad for which is expected to be named next week.
In a statement on the ECB website, the former New Zealand captain shared his first words as England’s new Test head coach.
He said: “I’d like to say how pleased I am to be given this opportunity to positively contribute to England’s Test cricket set-up and move the team forward into a more successful era.
“In taking this role on, I am acutely aware of the significant challenges the team faces at present, and I strongly believe in my ability to help the team emerge as a stronger force once we’ve confronted them head-on.
“I’ve enjoyed several robust conversations with Rob Key about the direction of travel for the team and have found his enthusiasm contagious. I’m no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment, and I can’t wait to get started.
“Ben Stokes is the perfect character to inspire change around him, and I look forward to working closely with him to build a successful unit around us.”
McCullum played a vital early role in the turnaround of the New Zealand Test side during the last decade while his frontfoot style of play should complement Stokesy.
Managing director of England Men’s cricket Rob Key played a key role in the appointment process and highlighted those two factors among the reasoning for choosing the 40-year-old.
“We are delighted to confirm Brendon as England Men’s Test head coach,” said Key. “It has been a real privilege to get to know him and understand his views and vision for the game. I believe his appointment will be good for England’s Test team.
“He has a recent history of changing cricket culture and environments for the better, and I believe he is the person to do that for England’s red-ball cricket.
“We were incredibly fortunate to have a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post, with Brendon demonstrating he was our number one choice.
“I’d like to thank Tom Harrison and the ECB Board for their support in this process.
“I believe in Brendon and Ben Stokes – a formidable coach and captain partnership. Time for us all to buckle up and get ready for the ride.”
In the search for Chris Silverwood’s replacement, Key has split the head coach position into separate Test and white-ball roles – with the latter expected to be filled soon.
For the time being though, we are just excited for what should be a fantastic era of English Test cricket with Stokesy and McCullum at the helm.