London, Sep 21 (IANS) England Test head coach Brendon McCullum has revealed he initially “didn’t really want” the job, but now that he is at the helm and the side is doing exceptionally well, he is “absolutely loving it”.
McCullum quit his job with Indian Premier League (IPL) side Kolkata Knight Riders following the conclusion of the 2022 edition after he was approached by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to take charge of a despondent Test side. But following the New Zealander taking up coaching duties of the side, England have won six of the seven Tests they have played, with his positive and aggressive approach earning him praise.
Before McCullum took over, England had two wins in 18 matches, with the side losing the Ashes series Down Under 0-4 and the away series against West Indies 0-1.
“I didn’t really want the job at the first instance (but) now I’ve got it, I’m absolutely loving it,” McCullum, who took over following the departure of Chris Silverwood, told SENZ Breakfast on Wednesday.
“It’s good craic and the boys are great. I thought they were good skill-wise… I didn’t quite realise how good they are, not just the first crop of players but the talent coming through English cricket as well.
“Just as long as it can be harnessed right, and there’s some challenges around these T20 leagues around the world and I guess… I won’t say stealing because the guys get the opportunity to go away and earn good money and that, but they are definitely poaching some of the more traditional types of players.
“That was one of the challenges for me, I guess I’ve been lucky enough to earn a good living out of the sport and being involved in some of those T20 leagues but Test cricket for me was always kind of what it was about,” added McCullum.
McCullum added when he came into the England setup, it was slightly difficult as he had taken up the role of handling a Test side for the first time, but now that he has been at the helm for several months, things have been great.
“To now be thrust into a position where you can have some influence over the current crop of Test players and particularly English cricket, which is a sizeable force in world cricket, was the challenge which I was looking forward to,” McCullum said. “To be honest it couldn’t have started too much better than what it has.”
McCullum, though, conceded touring Pakistan in December and hosting Australia for the Ashes next year would be his greatest coaching challenges.
“There’ll be a lot of talk about…’Well, how are you going to go in Pakistan? How are you going to go in the Ashes?’, which is our next two of our assignments, well next two out of our three, we’ve also got New Zealand back here in New Zealand,” McCullum added.
“But my point to the lads was just enjoy the success we’ve had over the summer, successful summers like this don’t come around too often.
“To win six out of seven Test matches and to captivate the public again over in England with the traditional sport of Test cricket was something that we were able to achieve. I just wanted the guys to enjoy that and appreciate it and we’ll turn our attention in time to what lays ahead, but it was certainly a successful summer.”