England ‘won’t die wondering’ under McCullum, says Southee

LONDON: Tim Southee has forecast an exciting time for England under Brendon McCullum as the former New Zealand captain prepares to go up against the reigning World Test champions at Lord’s. Thursday’s opening match of a three-game series will be McCullum’s first Test as England coach, with the hosts looking to him to kickstart their red-ball fortunes in much the same way he sparked a New Zealand revival when captain of his native country.

England are currently on a miserable run of one win in 17 Tests, with McCullum something of a surprise choice to succeed Chris Silverwood given his lack of red-ball coaching experience, although he will be working alongside a captain with a similar outlook in the newly-appointed Ben Stokes.

“It’s exciting, obviously a great challenge for Brendon,” paceman Southee, who has spent much of his career playing alongside McCullum, told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday. Southee, who has taken 338 wickets in 85 Tests, said he expected McCullum to transfer the qualities that made him a dynamic batsman and successful captain into his England role.

“He’s a great man-manager and he loves to try to get the best out of people. I’m sure he’ll be doing that here as well. “The way he played his cricket was exciting, fearless, and that’s the way he is a person and I’m sure that’s the way he is as a coach as well. “It will be an exciting brand of cricket, I’m sure. They (England) won’t die wondering I’d imagine if the way he goes about things is anything to go by.”

Southee, however, played down the prospect of McCullum imparting too much ‘inside knowledge’ to his new side. “He knows us pretty well but I don’t think there’s too many secrets out there these days with the amount of footage and analyst stuff that’s done as well.”

McCullum’s leadership allied to the way New Zealand played their white-ball cricket provided the inspiration for a change in England’s approach to white-ball cricket that led to a first men’s 50-over World Cup title in 2019 — when they beat New Zealand in a thrilling Super Oval final at Lord’s.

Southee, asked what it was about New Zealand cricket that was so attractive to England, replied: “I guess in New Zealand we’ve learnt to box above our weight for a long period of time. “We’re obviously challenged with just being a small country, the lack of people playing and lack of resource. Just the Kiwi way is to muck in and get the best out of what we’ve got. That’s not going to change, we’re not all of a sudden going to have a lot of pool to choose from.

“I think it’s just about making the most of what we’ve got. Sometimes less is more as well. And I think it’s in our DNA to try, not only the cricket side, as Kiwis is to just enjoy it and make the most of what we’ve got.”