Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Abhishek Nayar thinks that Brendon McCullum’s appointment as England men’s Test head coach will bring a sense of security and identity to the dressing room.
On Thursday, McCullum was appointed to the Test head coach role for England, with his first assignment coming in the form of a three-match home Test series against New Zealand in June.
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It is widely expected that McCullum will leave his coaching roles in the T20 franchise world, including being Kolkata’s head coach, once IPL 2022 is over to commit himself to England’s Test coaching role. It will be the first time that McCullum, a former New Zealand captain, will take up an international coaching assignment, that too in red-ball cricket.
“A sense of security and a sense of identity: I think these are the two things he will bring. You will identify England as a team that plays a certain brand of cricket and you will identify the players as one happy unit playing aggressive, positive cricket through and through. And the coach will stand by his players,” Nayar was quoted as saying by inews.co.uk.
Nayar, a former India cricketer, further explained how McCullum’s positive attitude will rub off on England’s Test team on the road to resurrection in the format after 16 losses in the last 17 matches. “There’s a lot of trust and there’s very little insecurity when Baz is around in terms of how he speaks to players and his positivity. I think I can say he is the most positive person I have ever met. I keep telling him that I’m not sure I can ever match up to his level of positivity!”
“His way of working is making everyone feel bulletproof about themselves. He really tries to take away the noise from outside and make it as simple as possible for the player and I think that’s his biggest strength. He identifies players’ strengths and weaknesses first and then uses them to create the right environment for them to perform in and play freely.”
Nayar admitted to being surprised over McCullum taking England’s red-ball coaching role as many had tipped him to be a white-ball coach, a format where England are one of the best sides in the world. But he feels that the challenge of transforming the England Test side must have pulled McCullum towards the role.
“I was surprised he went for the red ball rather than the white. But he always likes a challenge in life and I think he felt it was a great challenge for him to turn things around. He likes challenges and he felt this was a great challenge for him.”
“It’s something that will challenge him as a coach and a person and that’s what he strives for. I am very excited to see how it goes and after spending three years with him, I have high expectations.”
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