Coach Brendon McCullum believes the England captaincy has come at the right time for all-rounder Ben Stokes, admitting that he initially feared the two were too similar to succeed together.
The 40-year-old McCullum was appointed as coach of the England Test side in the second week of May. By then, Stokes was named as England captain after Joe Root had stepped down at the start of the summer after five years in the post.
Before appointing Stokes, there was a fear of burdening the talismanic all-rounder with more responsibility, especially after he had come back from a mental health break less than a year before.
“I think where Stokesy’s at in his career, and his aspirations as a leader and where he sees his team needs to go, it aligns beautifully to his personality and also to mine,” McCullum told SENZ Radio.
“The danger probably was that we’d be too similar. But I think both of us have got such motivation to try and improve the side that we give and take in the areas we need to, and we try and ensure that we surround ourselves with leaders within the group as well, both on the field and also support staff who can fill in some of the gaps where we may not be as strong as well.
“So understanding that we’re not the perfect products either, but I think being able to bounce off each other and to also push each other towards the danger, as well because sometimes even you have doubts. But if you’re able to have that filtering system between both the captain and the coach and to remain on task with what we’re trying to achieve and the direction that we want to go, I think it gives you a better chance of ensuring that there’s consistency with that message,” he added.
England are currently facing New Zealand in the third and final match of the three-match series in Headingley, Leeds after winning two first two games.
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