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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum bullish on England’s Bazball future  

McCullum was also all praise for young spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir who have exceeded expectations with a combined tally of 32 wickets in the first four Tests

Our Bureau, PTI New Delhi Published 28.02.24, 10:01 AM
Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum The Telegraph

England’s Bazball image has taken a beating as India have handed them their first series loss since Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum took over as the head coach, but the former New Zealand captain still has high hopes from his team’s aggressive brand of cricket.

“There are times in games where we haven’t quite scr­ewed down our me­thod just yet. We’ve lost here, didn’t win the Ashes (2-2), but we’re a better team than 18 months ago and we’ve got an opportunity in the next 18 months to do some special shit,” McCullum said in a interaction with the UK media.

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“We’ll keep chiselling away at those rough edges. It’s not a bad time to be coach of the England team,” he added.

It will be a special time for senior batter Jonny Bairstow as well, who will be appearing in his 100th Test when the teams meet in the last match of the series in Dharamsala. Bairstow, though, hasn’t had a good time thus far in the series, but coach McCullum believes he is ready to own the stage in the final Test, which begins on March 7. “It’ll be really emotional for him (Bairstow),” McCullum said.

“Everyone knows Jonny’s story. He is quite an emotional character at times and big milestones like that do mean a lot to him. (In the Ranchi match) he walked taller, looked stro­nger, had that presence and that real Jonny Bairstow swagger to him. When he has that, you kind of feel he’s never too far away.”

McCullum was also all praise for young spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir who have exceeded expectations with a combined tally of 32 wickets in the first four Tests.

“It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level. There’s a very real possibility that might be the case.

“But without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their own agendas as well... I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket.”

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