After leading the ODI revolution seven years ago, England is now on a mission to change how Test cricket is perceived. At the heart of this project is the head coach Brendon McCullum, who has vowed to make the country fall in love with Test cricket again. And if his first assignment is anything to go by, this rejuvenated English side very much looks like a force to reckon with.
They no longer look like a brittle batting unit that fumbles like a deck of cards against a mild breeze. While Joe Root still continues to be the fulcrum, there are now other bricks in the wall that are capable of resisting even the most fearsome bowling attack. Ollie Pope looks like a totally different player after being promoted to No. 3, while the freedom to bring his white-ball repertoire to red-ball has given new life to Jonny Bairstow’s Test career.
After registering a 3-0 clean-sweep over the world champions, New Zealand, England’s next target will be to salvage a draw against India. Ben Stokes has already cleared his intention, stating that they will continue to play with the same attacking mindset, irrespective of the occasion.
“Regardless of the opposition, we’re still going to have the same mindset,” Stokes told reporters. “Obviously, it’s going to be a completely different… different opposition, with their attack and players as well. We’ll be concentrating on what we’ve done well over these last three games and look to continue that against India on Friday.”
But Indian fans didn’t like Stokes’ warning, and they wanted to remind them that the Indian bowling attack will not succumb to their plan as easily as the Kiwis did.
One user wrote, “Stokes still can’t play Ashwin. Bairstow still walking wicket for nip Becker. Only root is some player. Won’t be the same series as NZ one.”
While the opening pair still remains a concern, England’s middle-order looks stronger than ever. Whenever England found themselves in a spot, Bairstow responded with a counter-attacking innings, and twice in the series, his centuries proved to be the deciding factor in England’s wins.
“I’ve never heard a bloke get 130-odd off 90 balls like he did at Trent Bridge and then ask his head coach how to go out and play,” said Stokes about Bairstow. “Baz McCullum basically just said, ‘Go and get your Sudoku book, sit next to me and shut up. Whatever you did last week, go out and do it again.'”
(Featured Image Credit: ICC)