On paper, it was a 3-0 series win to England over New Zealand but that only tells half the story.
The way England played their cricket was on a different planet to the one we saw meekly surrender to Australia in the Ashes.
Granted home conditions were always going to make England more competitive but it was the manner in which they won the games that has England fans daring to dream about what’s possible with the great Baz AKA Brendon McCullum leading the revolution as coach.
“The era of ‘Bazball’ is here,” Sam Drury wrote for Sky Sports.
“In the space of a couple of weeks, Jonny Bairstow played two of the most remarkable innings you could wish to see. What happened at Trent Bridge was just staggering.”
Drury was referring to Bairstow’s brutal 136 off 92 balls when England scored 160 in just over an hour to win the Test.
Bairstow then backed it up in the third Test with 160.
“It has gone really well,” new captain Ben Stokes said after the series.
“To walk away with a 3-0 series win against the best team in the world is a pretty special start. It’s a huge testament to the team.
“When I took over it was about more than results – it was about changing the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket, having fun, enjoying representing your country. Then the results will look after themselves.
McCullum’s coaching philosophy has given players the confidence to just go out and have a crack.
“I think it is a pretty simple game,” Brendon McCullum said.
“Sometimes we can get caught up in the fear of failure and maybe try to protect something rather than actually enjoying the opportunity you’ve got to represent your country.”
This notion of enjoying the game was emphasised by Jack Leach in the third Test. Leach who was heavily criticised for failing to make an impact in Australia is now a key part of their team overnight and he credits Stokes and McCullum for his transformation.
Leach took 17 wickets in 6 Tests in the 2021/22 season and for this series alone had 13 including match figures of 10 for 166 at Headingley.
“I don’t know if I thought it was possible, probably not,” Leach said.
“My biggest thing is having belief in myself and that’s what Ben and Baz have really helped me with, and it looks like that’s starting to pay off. I know there’s going to be challenging games, but this is a good one for me.”
Perhaps the most pleasing thing for England fans is former captain Joe Root has been able to just get on with doing what he does best – batting.
Without the burden of captaincy, Root scored 396 runs at an average of 99 including two centuries. He also made a few viral highlights by playing some outrageous T20 reverse flick shots that you would never have seen him play if he was captain.
The captaincy fell to Ben Stokes and he gobbled up the responsibility.
“No captain has stamped a mark on the England team as quickly, or revolutionised their style so completely in such a short time,” Nick Hoult wrote for the Telegraph.
“Those with Test ambitions now have the same clarity of job description: bat positively, look to score or bowl attacking lengths. It is the Australian way preached by two south islanders from New Zealand.”
“It should take longer than 25 days (14 of cricket) to bed in a new regime, but Brendon McCullum, the head coach, and Stokes are such clear communicators. There is no waffle, and insiders reveal they actually say very little, but choose their moments and speak in words every player understands.”
It’s not all rosy for England as they countdown to next year’s Ashes series.
They still had James Anderson and Stuart Broad take 23 wickets between them and they’ll need to find a new-look attack for the inevitable day that both Anderson and Broad retire.
They have found one such bowler in Matthew Potts who had an outstanding debut series with 14 wickets at 23. They’ll need Potts to continue his form and someone else to stand up and lead the charge.