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McCullum hits back at Bazball critics after England's embarrassing rout: 'I don't want our guys to ever doubt themselves'

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19th February, 2024
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Brendon McCullum has insisted England’s best chance of turning the tide in India is to keep trusting in their methods despite a humbling defeat in Rajkot.

Michael Vaughan described a 434-run loss in the third Test – their heaviest by runs since 1934 – as a “wake-up call”, while Nasser Hussain argued “tweaks” to the “Bazball” approach are a must. 

The suggestions of two former England captains are likely to fall on deaf ears as McCullum sticks to his guns despite going 2-1 down in a five-match series which resumes in Ranchi on Friday. 

McCullum, who has won 14 of 21 Tests as England head coach after taking charge of a team triumphant in one of their preceding 17, said putting limitations in place can only have a disruptive effect. 

“The positivity and confidence within the environment needs to remain,” McCullum said. “If we do that we give ourselves the best opportunity to bounce back. 

“That messaging that comes from myself and the skipper will never change regardless of how we’re going. I don’t want our guys to ever doubt themselves otherwise we go back to where it was beforehand. 

“When you start retreating a little bit you’re living and dying every day by your results and that’s not what this team is about. 

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RAJKOT, INDIA - FEBRUARY 18: England batsman Joe Root reacts after been given out lbw to Ravindra Jadeja (not pictured) after a review as captain Ben Stokes (l) looks on during day four of the 3rd Test Match between India and England at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 18, 2024 in Rajkot, India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Joe Root reacts after been given out lbw to Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“This team is about trying to keep pushing the game forward, to try and entertain and ultimately win. It didn’t work this time  but you can only do that by providing an environment where the guys feel safe and feel they can take on the world.” 

Joe Root is yet to reach 30 in this series, while fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow is also struggling. 

“I don’t have concerns over [Bairstow], ” said McCullum. “I’m not blind but he’s done so well for us. We know that a top-quality Jonny Bairstow is as good as anyone in any conditions so we’ve got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise. 

“Joe will be fine. He just has to keep backing himself and wait for the luck to turn his way. 

“The fact he’s missed out in three Tests, does that surely not just mean that he’s closer to getting a big score? It’s Joe Root. I mean, seriously? The law of averages suggests he’ll fill his boots in the next two Tests.” 

© AAP

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