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Brendon McCullum

What is Brendon McCullum’s coaching style?

The ICC Review

by Karan Sen

Hit For Six!
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India star Dinesh Karthik has applauded the appointment of former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum as the new head coach of the England men's Test team.

Karthik teamed up with McCullum during their stint together in the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders – McCullum and Karthik were coach and captain of the franchise respectively in the 2019 season. Karthik expects McCullum to bring a positive attitude to the England Test team. 

"The one thing I can tell you in the enormous amounts of time I've spent with him is that there is no negative bone in his body," Karthik said on the ICC Review. "He is somebody who wants to do everything in a positive manner.

Video The ICC Review 13 May 22
Brendon McCullum's coaching style analysed | Dinesh Karthik on The ICC Review

"So it's going to be very interesting when Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum meet up and figure out what's the positive way for England cricket to do things.

"Because there will be times when they are obviously faced with tough wickets and the batters sometimes will need to find a way between what is being positive and what is being reckless. I think that'll be a very interesting battle for them."

McCullum is still an inexperienced coach in the international circuit, and Karthik believes he will have to adapt to the role. "I think there will be certain things that will be definitely new to Brendon McCullum," he said.

"There is no doubt about it. Even though he has done his coaching bit for Kolkata Knight Riders and for Trinbago Knight Riders, I think red-ball cricket is a completely different kettle of fish."

Video ICC Awards of the Decade 24 Nov 20
Brendon McCullum | ICC Spirit of Cricket Award nominee

The England men's team has been going through a difficult time – they lost the Ashes 4-0 in Australia, and then suffered a series loss in the West Indies as well, prompting Joe Root to step down as captain.

McCullum was appointed as the head coach KKR in August 2019, Dinesh Karthik was the skipper at the time.
McCullum was appointed as the head coach KKR in August 2019, Dinesh Karthik was the skipper at the time.

"I think McCullum wants to take this up because he sees this as a major challenge," Karthik said. "A team that has obviously not done really well in the last two years. A bit in the dumps but to try and resurrect and try and take them to the pinnacle of Test cricket, which is what they are aiming to do.

During his stint as the New Zealand captain, McCullum was widely credited with improving the culture of the team. This led to an improvement in results, culminating in some famous victories.

Video cwc19 19 Jun 19
CWC19: Perfect Pairs - Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum

Asked what culture McCullum would inculcate in the side, Karthik believed the atmosphere around the team would be a "relaxed" one. "It will be a very relaxed dressing room. I've seen that he is somebody who focuses a lot on playing a lot of sports off the field and off the field having a lot of fun as well.

"He emphasizes a lot on it like a young kid who likes to play all the sports possible and gets very physical as well. He is a very strong man, there is no doubt about it. Sometimes even too strong for the current cricketers today. It will be a very relaxed dressing room, a very chill dressing room.

"It'll be very interesting how the youngsters are able to draw energy from that and make sure they are doing all things right to take English cricket forward."

McCullum does have a task on his hands, especially with many white-ball tournaments coming up, including the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year and the Cricket World Cup next year. In such a case, managing the workload of the players playing both formats could pose a tricky situation for McCullum.  

When quizzed on what would be McCullum's first priority as the head coach, Karthik said, "I think to find out how much of a priority is it for ECB to play red-ball cricket.

"Because there are so many white-ball tournaments coming up, where is Test cricket placed right now in terms of availability of the players so that he can move the team forward.

"The English cricket team have a few players that overlap between white-ball and red-ball cricket and it can get hard to play both formats throughout the summer. So sometimes you have to give up on a format for a certain time so that you can focus on a major tournament or Test series that is going to come up.

"So the priority on which player and how many good players is he going to get to play Test cricket is something he has to figure out with the administrators." 

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