England begin Test journey under new leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum

First challenge for Three Lions will be three-match series against New Zealand that starts on Thursday

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England cricket has embarked upon a new Test era with star all-rounder Ben Stokes as captain and New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, who was a trend-setting batsman in white-ball cricket, as coach of the red-ball team.

The Three Lions have a completely new set-up in place, following the arrival of Rob Key as director of cricket, while Joe Root has relinquished the Test captaincy but will continue as a player.

McCullum has been brought in with the aim of infusing some much-needed aggression and positivity in they way England play the five-day format, after winning just one of their last 17 matches that leaves them last in the World Test Championship table.

One of the first decisions the new management took was to recall veteran seam bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were controversially dropped for the West Indies tour after the 4-0 Ashes thrashing.

McCullum also hinted at having T20 star batsman Jos Buttler in the team, and is also eager to see if the likes of Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid want to be part of his red-ball revamp.

Buttler was the leading run-scorer in the recently concluded IPL, smashing a record four centuries in the tournament.

McCullum, who saw him at close quarters as head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, is keen to see him Tests again.

He said: "Jos is one of those players you look at instantly and think how could he be so dominant in one form of the game and not quite have found his feet, other than a few fleeting performances, in Test cricket?

"There's certainly guys you look at and think there's a lot of talent that could improve the side given the right opportunity. There's no reason why, if you're good at T20, you can't bring those skills into Test cricket and you look at some of the guys who have dominated the IPL in the last two months. It's just a matter of trying to identify how they're going to do that."

England's first assignment is a three-match Test series against New Zealand, which begins at Lord's on Thursday. The team began training at the iconic ground on Monday.

Meanwhile, New Zealand named a 15-man squad for the three-Test series but said that Henry Nicholls and Trent Boult are doubts for the first match at Lord's.

Nicholls is still recovering from a right calf injury, with New Zealand naming Michael Bracewell as the 16th man as cover for the top order batsman.

Fast bowler Boult, meanwhile, is expected to arrive in London only on Monday after playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL final in Ahmedabad a day earlier.

Updated: May 30, 2022, 2:08 PM
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