Brendon McCullum, a former New Zealand captain, is set to be named England’s men’s Test coach after he agreed to take the position, and official confirmation could come by the end of the week, pending the completion of a contract.
McCullum, the Indian Premier League’s Kolkata Knight Riders coach, is expected to leave franchise cricket to work full-time for England. He will take over for Chris Silverwood, who resigned in February.
To find Silverwood’s replacement, England’s new managing director, Rob Key, has divided the head coach position into Test and white-ball roles.
At first, McCullum, a close friend of England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, was approached over the white-ball post. McCullum, on the other hand, sees a more appealing challenge in resurrecting a team that has won only one of their last 17 games.
He outperformed former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten, who was thought to be the frontrunner for the Test job, in interviews held on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
McCullum, who retired from international cricket in 2019, has never coached in first-class cricket but has played 101 Tests for New Zealand.
He not only led the Black Caps to the 2015 World Cup final, but he also started a resurgence in their Test cricket performance, which led to them being crowned the inaugural world champions last year.
His penchant for attacking cricket bodes well for an exciting partnership with England’s new Test captain, Ben Stokes.
With Kolkata likely to be eliminated from the IPL next Wednesday, McCullum could be available for England’s first Test of the summer, against New Zealand, at Lord’s on June 2.
The squad for that Test will be selected next week. England is not as close to naming a new white-ball coach, with candidates expected to be interviewed again next week.
With the first engagement of the summer not until a three-match one-day series in the Netherlands beginning on June 19, there is not the same time pressure on naming the limited-overs coach.