England in Pakistan 2022-23 – Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum says England will continue their mantra of attacking cricket in Pakistan ahead of the series in which he hopes his players will achieve the “biggest feat” of an overseas win.

England’s first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years is also the first overseas assignment for McCullum’s Ben-Stokes revolution, which took the domestic summer by storm. Six victories in seven Tests sparked England’s interest in the longest format, earning plenty of fans along the way.

Now, with the team in unfamiliar conditions – only James Anderson has toured Pakistan before – McCullum has insisted on a similar approach, and is ready to take defeat in his stride provided the intention Remain. He even said that Stokes, as captain, will do his best to ensure that none of the three Tests, the first of which begins in Rawalpindi on Thursday, ends in a draw.

“Winning away from home is the biggest achievement you can have as a Test player and as a Test team,” McCullum said at England’s first press conference after arriving in the country on Sunday morning.

“We understand the scale of the challenge in front of us. But it’s great – that’s why you want to play the game. You don’t want easy challenges, you want to be the best in their own circumstances and you want to try. ” And test where you are as a team. I’m really excited. I don’t know if we are going to win the series or not. I can almost guarantee he will say that when the captain gets here in 48 hours. There will be no draw in the series.

“We will definitely push for results because we see it as our responsibility to try and make sure that people stay entertained. And if we lose, Pakistan, we know. I hope we play well and if we lose, that’s okay too. Looking forward to the opportunity, looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to the hospitality. And hopefully in a few weeks everyone will say It’s been a fantastic series.”

There will be crowds helping to replicate the summer work. Adding further to the theater of the occasion, Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi are set to sell out. It won’t be entirely one-sided with a touring party of England supporters including the Barmy Army expected in the stands. McCollum expects this to fuel his work over the next month.

“The boys have already said they’re excited to play here in front of a full house, it’s going to be a good atmosphere, so they’re really excited,” he said. “That’s what we want from Red Ball Cricket all over the world, packed stadiums and fans rooting for their local team.

“Having him on the road is the biggest compliment… we’re lucky to have a sellout crowd and that’s what we want. The captain wants them to be rock stars and you have to be a rock star. Play in front of big houses. We’ve got the opportunity to do that.”

The two teams trained side by side on Monday morning in the outfield of the Rawalpindi Cricket Ground. Only Mark Wood, who McCullum confirmed would not play in the first Test as he is recovering from a hip injury sustained during the T20 World Cup, did not take part in the session.

The pitch was wide open, with players from both sides taking the opportunity to have a look at the surface, including McCullum.

“It’s looking good but I would expect that to change over the next couple of days, see how things clear up. I think one of the things we’ve talked about is what “Also, it’s about going with what we’re given and not getting too caught up in it. Our preconceived ideas. Just play what’s in front of us and be ready to adapt.”

Adaptation is the name of the game in these parts, especially if England are to keep the scoring going. Two of the last four Tests at the venue have been drawn, the last of which – Australia’s tour here in March 2022 – saw the scoring rate hovering around 3 an over, with top-order batsmen in both set runs. were . No one, throughout both the batting line-ups, could really impose themselves on the opposition bowlers.

Asked if England’s style would carry over beyond the summer, McCullum said he wanted to see how it played out, although he admitted some adjustments would be made.

“I guess we’ll find out,” he said. “One of the things we try and do is respect the conditions but at the same time if we are given an opportunity to play aggressive and attacking cricket we will try to take that option. We have what we have. The people in our squad, that’s how they play their cricket and that gives them the most freedom and the best opportunity to perform at the highest level.

“Look, we know it’s not necessarily going to be the dominant, aggressive cricket that we’ve seen in the past, but there will be opportunities to try and play positively. On that.”

McCullum also warned Pakistan not to dwell too much on Shaheen Shah Afridi’s absence after the fast bowler was ruled out with a knee injury.

“Obviously it’s a big loss. I know him well, I played with Shaheen for many years in the PSL as well. He is a brilliant bowler and he has become a great leader for Pakistan cricket. He is a big loss, no doubt about that. When you play against Pakistan, you look at their team sheet and you see talent, and you see some talent that is not ready. But it’s talent.- Research and plan well what’s coming at you, but also find a way to put that talent under pressure and see how it reacts.

“It’s a very good Pakistan squad, it’s well-rounded, it’s got some experience and some youth, both with batting and bowling, and they’re going to be a tough challenge. We know if we go We have to play well to be successful.”

McCullum’s previous experience with Pakistan has been limited to five ODIs since 2003 in which he scored just 16 runs, at a non-McCollum strike rate of 35.55. He could see the funny side, 19 years later, when asked what he had made of the country during his playing days: “Thanks for bringing it up – I think I’ve had 12 here in my whole career. Scored runs. I didn’t perform. Well myself here but luckily I don’t have to pick up the bat.”

Nevertheless, he appreciates the importance of bringing England’s Test team to this part of the world, especially after the T20 team’s tour in September and October. And above all, hopefully those in the stands and watching at home will find the kind of entertainment that will go some way to making up for the absence.

“Obviously it’s a great place to visit and it’s been deprived of international cricket for a long time. We understand how passionate people here in Pakistan are about this style of cricket and we feel that responsibility. There are a lot of challenges that are incumbent on us as an England team. We are looking forward to coming here and playing an entertaining style of cricket, hopefully with a result, whether it’s in our favor or in Pakistan’s favour.

“Hopefully, everyone who tunes into this series, not just in Pakistan but across the world, will see that international cricket is back in Pakistan and we have a product that is worth watching.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo.


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