England’s wicketkeeper-batter, Ben Foakes, heaped praise on Brendon McCullum and compared the head coach with a Scottish knight, Sir William Wallace, who played a key role in securing Scottish freedom from the English.
Foakes was highly impressed with McCullum’s inspirational coaching style and the way he instilled confidence in the England team. His comments came ahead of the third and final Test against New Zealand, starting on June 23 in Leeds.
Notably, England has already won the Test series after winning the first two Tests against New Zealand, and McCullum’s influence played a key role in the team’s success after around two years of a tough time in the longest format of the game.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, Ben Foakes stated: “Baz's team talk at tea - it was like William Wallace! After he was done, everyone was desperate to get out there. The traditional Test approach in that situation would be 'see how it goes, see how many wickets we've got left, then if the situation isn't there, do we shut up shop?' He was like, 'Nah, we're not doing that.”
He continued, “We're winning this game. If we don't, so be it - we've done it the right way. It doesn't matter if we don't win this game.' And it took the pressure off. I had a few questions and didn't want to be too indecisive and not know how I am meant to be playing. [McCullum] has been really clear with the doubts I had and it was good for me to be open with him.”
Foakes signed off by saying, “It has changed the way I look at Test cricket. With playing for England, there are obviously a lot of pressures, a lot of criticisms and things like that. If you think about that too much, it weighs on you. But over the last two weeks, it's clear to see the positives and how amazing playing for England can be. Baz and Stokesy (Ben Stokes), the way they are, promote that.”
Prior to the ongoing Test series against New Zealand, England had failed to win any of their previous five-Test series, winning just one match from 17.
Just a year ago, England, under the guidance of then-coach Chris Silverwood, settled for a draw after refusing to take on a target of 273 in 75 overs against New Zealand.
(With AFP Inputs)