There has been speculation for a while about who would be coming in to replace Chris Silverwood as England’s men’s Test Coach. And, after Silverwood’s departure in February after a dismal display during the Ashes in Australia, England have pounced to secure the services of former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
McCullum, 40, has penned an initial four-year agreement with England and will now be preparing for the first Test against New Zealand, the current world champions, at Lord’s on 2 June. It’s fair to say that it was time for change after the Ashes humiliation. And with Silverwood departing and Joe Root stepping down as captain, McCullum is set to lead the change alongside new captain Ben Stokes in what everyone hopes will be a more successful era for the Three Lions.
To get a measure of just how far England have fallen in recent times, their record of being winless in nine Tests and having won only once in seventeen matches says it all. At the top of England cricket, the Three Lions are now operating with a new managing director in Rob Key, a new coach in McCullum and a new captain in Stokes. So, the desire to get back to the top of international cricket is there for all to see, although there will be a period of transition ahead. It’s likely that there will be further disappointments on the horizon before the tide changes and England return to their form of old.
Speaking on the decision to appoint McCullum as Silverwood’s successor, the current England and Wales Cricket Board insisted that McCullum was the “outstanding candidate” for the role. It’s thought the ECB selection panel, which consists of Key, Andrew Strauss as strategic advisor, chief executive Tom Harrison and performance director Mo Bobat were in agreement from the get-go that McCullum was the man to lead England into a new era. And they were equally pleased with Stokes taking over as captain, suggesting he is “the perfect character to inspire change around him.”
McCullum, who called time on his playing career in 2019, is currently the head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders of the Indian Premier League. However, with their exit from the IPL imminent, it will free up McCullum to make his way to the UK before the end of the month, with the squad for the upcoming first Test against New Zealand due to be named shortly.
After three Test matches against the world champions, England then have India to face in what is a rearranged fifth Test in July. They will then embark on another three Tests, this time against South Africa, over the course of August and September. It’s pretty much a baptism of fire for McCullum, who hasn’t coached at first-class cricket level before, but it’s one he’s sure to relish while putting his own stamp on the Three Lions.