Brendon McCullum is happy to watch Ben Stokes “write his own scripts” as England’s captain as the pair continue to push the boundaries in Test cricket.
McCullum has been a huge hit since taking over England’s red ball side last summer, overseeing nine wins from 10 matches and ushering in a new era of fearless play.
As a proud Kiwi and a beloved former Black Caps captain this month’s tour of New Zealand places him firmly in the spotlight, but he is more than happy to nudge Stokes into centre stage.
“With the skipper in charge, I’m not sure what’s possible for this side because he’s a guy who writes his own scripts and achieves some pretty special things,” he said.
“I know the plans he has for this team are quite lofty and he’ll try to do what he can to drag the boys along for the ride.
“It’s been a good start. Results have been great, but it’s not so much about results. I know we get judged on them, but that’s not really my focus, and that goes for the skipper as well.
“We just want the guys to play a style of cricket that gives them the greatest opportunity to allow their talent to come out and have a good time doing it.
“This year has been quite amazing. We know there are some big challenges in front of us as well but whatever happens we’ve achieved some pretty cool stuff over the last little while and if we can take forward the lessons we have learned from the past 10 or 11 months it will give us an opportunity to do something pretty special in the next little while.”
McCullum has played the role of tour guide during the early days of the trip, laying on a team bonding camp at some of his old stomping grounds to further knit together a squad that increasingly believes it can take on the world.
The fact that he is also plotting to defeat his compatriots is not lost on the 41-year-old, but he hopes the local fans will welcome the brand of cricket he is bringing to their shores – even if it is from behind enemy lines.
“They are going to be entertained, regardless of whether New Zealand win or we win,” he promised.
“People are patriotic and want their own team to win, but this is one of the reasons we’re in the job we’re in – we want to make Test cricket entertaining and ensure that people walk away with a great experience from the game.
“Even if your team doesn’t win, you can still walk away thinking you’ve had a hell of a day out. Hopefully that will be the case throughout this series.”