McCullum not taking England lightly


Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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New Zealand made mugs of England in the World Cup – but their captain Brendon McCullum is expecting a tougher challenge in the Royal London Series.

It took the Kiwis barely 45 overs to bowl England out for 123 and then knock off the runs in Wellington four months ago.

They went on to the final, and England proved also-rans – kickstarting a chain of events which means they will begin the rematch with a caretaker coach and a much-changed line-up.

The only high-profile constant will be McCullum’s opposite number, Eoin Morgan entrusted with the task – initially at Edgbaston on Tuesday – of trying to forge a new 50-over future for England.

McCullum senses the opposition may be on the right track this time, or at any rate a little nearer to it than they have been.

“I like look of their squad – (it’s a) little bit raw, but (they’re) talented players who are aggressive with bat and ball,” he said.

“They look like a team wanting to play some aggressive cricket.

“They have some dangerous players in their team … (and) judging by comments coming out of their camp, they’re looking to branch out.”

Paul Farbrace will be England’s coach until Australian Trevor Bayliss arrives in time for this summer’s Ashes.

The hosts are therefore still in a state of flux following their miserable winter.

They, like New Zealand, will already be thinking ahead to the 2019 World Cup – which, like the 2017 Champions Trophy, will be held in this country.

In the meantime, McCullum believes England have made some necessary changes – and makes it clear his team will not be looking too far ahead, with a series to be won in the short term.

“It’s a good shift they’ve made,” he said.

“We’ve got an eye to those [tournaments to come], but we need to deal with the here and now.

“The coaching staff and management will have plans in place, but we need to focus on this series.”

New Zealand are a potent force already but know they will need stars of the future too – and in uncapped left-arm pace bowler Ben Wheeler, they hope to have found another.

“He has the potential to be outstanding,” said McCullum.

“He’s in the Trent Boult mould. He swings ball at decent pace and has fitted in seamlessly.

“It’s great he’s there, trying to cement himself a spot and we hope he’ll get a chance to prove he belongs at this level.”

England are trying to unearth a new generation to address the issues of their World Cup failings.

McCullum has a sympathetic take on their debacle down under.

“They missed some key opportunities,” he said.

“ODI cricket can be brutal if you don’t take them.

“If they’d won against Bangladesh, who knows what might have happened?”

Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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