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Eng v NZ

What to expect from Brendon McCullum?

English cricket has had a bit of a crush on New Zealand in recent times. From the buccaneering if ultimately thwarted World Cup campaign in 2015 that inspired Eoin Morgan’s white-ball side to silverware four years later, to last summer’s World Test Championship triumph, admiration has been plentiful. In some ways the move to hire one of its architects, Brendon McCullum, should not be a total shock.

There are no guarantees in sport but Ben Stokes ticks all the boxes

Above all, I think he is an uplifting choice. Good luck, Ben — and make sure you do it your way.

The appointment of Ben Stokes as the Test captain is a gamble

That is clearly what the ECB have told themselves, too. There will have been evaluations and assurances. This has not been rushed. Ultimately, though, there was no alternative. English cricket will now heap even further pressure on a man whose body and mind were already creaking under the strain. We can only hope for the best and wish him well.

The appointment of Rob Key is a gamble

We’re very harsh with our captains through – all Test captains make mistakes. Lots of the best ones have some very, very good bowlers on their teams. I think Joe can hold his head up high, he gave it absolutely everything. His attributes outweighed the things he didn’t have and he conducted himself brilliantly during the difficult last 12 months, under intense fire when results went against him. Sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve got until you lose it.

Rob Key will bring common sense

For too long, English cricket has over-complicated the present in search of the promised land. Key will operate in the here and now, and keep it simple. After a shambolic period for the Test team, it’s a philosophy that has to be worth a try.
Joe Root

Joe Root’s lack of tactical acumen too often cost England dear and change had...

Root had no such luck, a pair of 4-0 defeats in Australia sandwiching a seat-of-the-pants 2-2 draw at home in 2019. He would have traded many of his other wins for a single Ashes triumph. It was not to be — and neither, ultimately, was his captaincy.
Ben Stokes of England celebrates dismissing India captain Virat Kohli

Ben Stokes has the respect, class and aura to lead England out of the...

It feels all doom and gloom at the moment but it is amazing how quickly things can change with a new voice and new energy on the side. But the mindset has to be right, starting at the very top.

The departure of Joe Root leaves England with huge gaps at the top

Really, English cricket’s leadership reshuffle should start with the position of chair, and then work its way down from there. But if we have learned anything from a horror year that ended with a raft of sackings and now Root’s resignation, the road to recovery will be a long one regardless of who is in charge.

Joe Root was a broken skipper in West Indies

This forces their hand. Without structural reform and a refocus on the red-ball game, the new captain arrives with a ludicrous workload.

Well done New Zealand

Mark Wood bowled the fifth ball of the eleventh over of the second innings of New Zealand and the stand-in-captain Tom Latham dispatched the short of a length delivery towards the third man by opening the full face of the bat for a boundary and earn the Test and series-winning runs. That one hit not only ensured the series victory in England for the Kiwis since 1999 but elevated them to the number 1 rank in the ICC Test ranking and they are the number 1 side in the ODI as well.

Test cricket returns at Lord’s

When rain spoiled the third day of the first Test at Lord’s, a draw was always on the cards, but the matter of interest was how the Test would end – whether it would witness all four innings played or not. In the end, all four innings were played, courtesy of a bold declaration by Kane Williamson on the final day giving England 273 to win from the 75 overs.


Real Madrid are the champions of Champions League

It felt like one of those old flicks they show on Saturday afternoons in which the gang successfully gets together for one final, big heist. Except, even without Mbappe, you suspect this won't be their last -- not when there's a guy like Ancelotti, one of the few men who can pull off the cardigan-cigar-shades combination and lead a team in transition to a league and cup double. Not with young guns - Vinicius, Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo - already with the "big one" under their belt. Not with Courtois, in the prime of his career, staking a claim as the world's No. 1 between the posts and getting a few things off his chest. ("We showed again who is the King of Europe.")

14 for Real Madrid