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England confirm McCullum deal: ‘Buckle up and get ready for the ride’

B

rendon McCullum has confidently declared that he is ready to confront the “significant challenges” facing England’s Test team “head on”, having been confirmed as the new head coach.

McCullum will join up with England when his Kolkata Knight Riders team’s Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign concludes (which is highly likely to be on Wednesday), and will be in post for the First Test against his native New Zealand on June 2 at Lord’s.

McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand, including a transformative stint as an inspirational captain, but has never coached at first-class level.

Rob Key, England’s managing director, said that McCullum was the outstanding individual on “a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post”, and told fans to “buckle up and get ready for the ride” in a dynamic pairing with new skipper Ben Stokes.

“We are delighted to confirm Brendon as England Men’s Test head coach,” said Key. “It has been a real privilege to get to know him and understand his views and vision for the game. I believe his appointment will be good for England’s Test team.

“He has a recent history of changing cricket culture and environments for the better, and I believe he is the person to do that for England’s red-ball cricket. We were incredibly fortunate to have a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post, with Brendon demonstrating he was our number one choice.

“I’d like to thank Tom Harrison and the ECB Board for their support in this process. I believe in Brendon and Ben Stokes – a formidable coach and captain partnership. Time for us all to buckle up and get ready for the ride.”

McCullum acknowledged the Test team’s struggles – they have won just one of their last 17 matches – but made clear his excitement for his new role.

“I’d like to say how pleased I am to be given this opportunity to positively contribute to England’s Test cricket set-up and move the team forward into a more successful era,” he said. “In taking this role on, I am acutely aware of the significant challenges the team faces at present, and I strongly believe in my ability to help the team emerge as a stronger force once we’ve confronted them head-on.

“I’ve enjoyed several robust conversations with Rob Key about the direction of travel for the team and have found his enthusiasm contagious. I’m no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment, and I can’t wait to get started.

“Ben Stokes is the perfect character to inspire change around him, and I look forward to working closely with him to build a successful unit around us.”

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