'Alarm bells have gone off in world cricket,': Brendon McCullum on England's aggressive approach ahead of India Test
England showed a glimpse of their new approach in Test cricket, particularly with the bat, during their 3-0 series sweep against New Zealand. They chased down targets over 250 with ease in the fourth innings in all three matches, with the second and third particularly showcasing some sensational big hitting led by Jonny Bairstow. It was something that many expected when Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes were appointed as head coach and captain of the team but the former has now said that they will probably push their aggression even further.
England, who had been mired in a run of one win in 17 tests, brought in McCullum as coach and named Ben Stokes as their new captain in May and the duo have made an immediate impact with a more swashbuckling style of play.
After brushing aside reigning world test champions New Zealand, England take on India at Edgbaston from Friday in a rearranged test from last year's series.
"The world test champions were a formidable opponent and the alarm bells have probably gone off somewhat around world cricket as to how this team is going to play," McCullum told British media.
"Let's enjoy the moment and see what unfolds in the next little while. It's exciting... I hope we take (this approach) too far because then we'll know exactly where that line is. Until you do that, you're not really sure."
Bairstow scored 394 runs in the six innings he played at a sensational strike rate of 120.12. Former captain Joe Root, meanwhile, continued his own rich vein of form and scored his fastest ever century during the first Test. Captain Ben Stokes, meanwhile, also scored 194 runs in his five innings at a strike rate of 82.55, notably being part of a sensational 179 run stand with Bairstow that came in just 121 balls in England's second innings of the second Test.
“It's early days, but he has exceeded my expectations already. I'm aggressive but he's got me covered, which is saying something. When we're fielding and he's captaining, he's constantly making plays, which I think is great because it means at least we're in control regardless of what the scoreboard says,” said McCullum of Stokes.
"Then, when he's batting, he's pushing the envelope as well, which is sending a message to not just our dressing room but to other dressing rooms that this is how we're going to play.