England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum as England Men’s Test head coach for a four-year contract.
Brendon McCullum has never managed a red-ball team before, but his captaincy of New Zealand’s Test team earned him praise.
McCullum, who will leave his position as head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders at the end of the current IPL season, played 101 Tests for New Zealand between 2004 and 2016, scoring 6453 runs at 38.64, with a best score of 302 against India.
Despite never having coached a red-ball side previously, McCullum led New Zealand for 31 Tests from 2013 until his retirement, gaining praise for his optimistic attitude, which was also essential in the white-ball team’s journey to the 2015 World Cup final. He also won the Caribbean Premier League with Trinbago Knight Riders in 2020.
He will join the squad – which will be captained by England’s newly-appointed captain Ben Stokes – ahead of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2 – and will now have a say in next week’s selection meeting as well.
England’s director of men’s cricket, Rob Key, acknowledged that McCullum’s appointment was a calculated risk, saying it was “time for us all to buckle up and get ready for the ride,” but praised his demonstrated ability to change team cultures for the better – an attribute desperately needed after a disastrous year for England’s Test team, in which they have won just one of their last 17 Tests and have dropped to their lowest ICC ranking since 1995.
When it became clear that McCullum was interested in the Test job, an ECB selection panel comprised of Key, CEO Tom Harrison, performance director Mo Bobat, and Andrew Strauss, who is now a strategic advisor to the board after stepping down as interim MD following Key’s appointment, unanimously chose him.