England hopes to make fresh start with Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum duo

England hopes to make fresh start with Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum duo

England hopes to make fresh start with Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum duo

England’s new coach Brendon McCullum (L), skipper Ben Stokes(R). (Credits: AFP)

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England is hoping to make a fresh start under their new leadership pair of skipper Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum as they are scheduled to go against New Zealand in the first Test match at the Lord’s on June 2.

Stokes, who was born in New Zealand but raised in Cumbria, northwest England, has taken the charge as England’s Test captain from Joe Root, who stepped down after a series of failed outcomes.

McCullum’s appointment as England’s next Test coach was paved by Chris Silverwood’s sacking after a 4-0 Ashes series loss to Australia, with the former New Zealand captain’s first match in charge putting him against a side he knows well.

England hopes that the attacking attitude McCullum pioneered while leading New Zealand to World Test winners last year, when he had retired as a player, would rub off on his new team.

“My job will be to plan as if you’ll live forever, but live as if you’ll die tomorrow,” said McCullum ahead of a three-match series.

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In combative all-rounder Stokes, he appears to have a like-minded teammate.

At Lord’s, England has also ‘gone back in time,’ calling back seasoned new-ball combo James Anderson and Stuart Broad to their team.

With 1,177 Test wickets between them, the pair was controversially left out of England’s recent 1-0 series loss in the Caribbean.

Read more: Aussie quick Pattinson retires from Test cricket ahead of Ashes

 

‘A Brendon McCullum and a Ben Stokes mindset amazing together’

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England had only won one of their previous 17 Tests, putting them at the last spot in the World Test Championship table.

However, a rest and rotation policy, which was a result in part of the tight coronavirus restrictions, is no longer preferred by a new regime that wants to focus on the game in front of them.

Broad is ready to step up, despite the fact that he could be denied a 25th Test debut this week at Lord’s due to rivalry from Craig Overton and the uncapped Matthew Potts.

“From the outside when you see a Brendon McCullum and a Ben Stokes mindset come together, it’s pretty exciting,” said Broad, 35.

“Brendon said to the bowling group: ‘don’t focus too much on economy rates, I want wickets. Let’s try and get as many wickets as we can, as soon as possible’. So it’s ‘where can I get an extra slip from? Where can I get a short leg from?’ rather than being too defensive.”

Read more: Stuart Broad seems uninterested in succeeding Joe Root

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New Zealand, who may play without Trent Boult upon his return from the Indian Premier League, have only played two warm-up games in England prior to the first Test.

They were not even able to prepare for a two-match series in England last year. Despite that, they won 1-0 before thrashing India in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton.

Many from the touring team were motivated after playing at the Lord’s, including New Zealand paceman Tim Southee, who has taken 20 wickets in four Tests at Lord’s, including five-wicket hauls in 2013 and 2021 that earned him a place on the dressing room honors board.

“It’s a special place,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to play here a few times and you get that tingling feeling every time you turn up here…You walk in, you look up and I think the first thing everyone does is look up the honors board and you see some pretty cool names.”

However, the teams may not be welcomed by a customary packed crowd at Lord’s, with 16,000 tickets for the first four days at the London venue still available 48 hours before the event.

Read more: James Anderson all set to return to Test squad

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Peak ticket costs £160 ($202) per day due to cost of living concerns that may have contributed to reduced sales, with activities marking Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee also being a cause.

Broad, on the other hand, stated that England had a duty to thrill its fans.

“It’s not just results, it’s the style of cricket,” he explained.

“To attract the fans we have to build on that style of cricket and have a style that people want to watch.”

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