It has been hard to know who to cheer for more in the cricket series between the Black Caps and England.
As a Kiwi there are two choices: Brendon McCullum or the New Zealand team.
I totally agree with the appointment of McCullum in the coach’s role and I sincerely want a Kiwi to do well and stamp his style on the English team.
There is evidence so far from the two Tests that he is having a profound influence on the type of game the English will play and they appear to be enjoying his style of man management. One of the Englishmen endorsed his “chilled” style.
A coach can have a tremendous influence on the mental state of a player and what it does to his game. Not knowing McCullum, I would say he would be an enjoyable character to play with and for.
Many coaches and managers believe they must turn their players and staff into robotic individuals who are managed so rigidly they lose all form of self-expression. Players are at their best when allowed to express themselves and play with freedom. Staff are the same too, give them responsibility and freedom and they will be more positive team members.
‘Positivity’ is the key word in Brendon McCullum’s coaching manual and this can be seen by England’s tremendous run chase to win the second Test at Trent Bridge.
Many teams would have gone into their shells and played out the draw, with England leading 1-0 in the series that would have been a popular option. But now they have won the series due to a fantastic knock by Johnny Bairstow, hitting the second-fastest century by an Englishman. I can only imagine Johnny is enjoying playing under McCullum.
The English appear to have unearthed a decent opener too, in Alex Lees. There are certain players who just look the part and Lees does just that, unlike his predecessors. The medium-pacer Matthew Potts also appears to have slotted seamlessly into the line-up.
I was desperately keen for McCullum to win the first Test at least, and anything after that is a bonus. If the English had won without him, the pain of losing would be a little more intense. I have thrown all bias out with the intention of seeing McCullum do well. He appears to combine a fire in the belly will with a beach-cricket attitude.
And what of the Black Caps? I am an enthusiastic fan of Kyle Jamieson and it is sad to see him head home with an injury. Will Neil Wagner play in the next Test? I sincerely hope so. Tim Southee is struggling at present, so Wagner in for him possibly.
Now that the series is won by England, maybe they will play with even more freedom in the third and final Test, at Headingley. An unchanged line-up? Or is it time to select another up-and-coming fast bowler?
I am pleased that McCullum has started off with two wins out of two and he is hopefully creating a more competitive English team for the next Ashes.
Black Caps or Brendon McCullum? If England are playing anyone else in the future, I will be right behind McCullum and will watch his style of coaching and man management with great interest.
For now it is McCullum first, Black Caps second in my support. Although my theory does not apply to Dave Rennie, coach of the Wallabies, for some reason! It will always be the All Blacks.
Maybe it is because of McCullum’s style and attitude that I would like to see him succeed?
Who are you supporting?