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