The Light Roller – England finally become the team they wanted to be
One of McCullum’s most memorable gambits was charging up to Mitchell Starc at the start of the World Cup final. Sure, he got his stumps splashed and New Zealand ended up beaten, but it’s the principle that counts. Stokes has a similar mindset. Whether it’s balls, bodies or locker rooms, both love to break it.
McCullum took over as New Zealand captain following Ross Taylor’s failed withdrawal, helping to heal a divided dressing room and rebuild the team from one of its lowest points in recent times. Stokes takes charge of England after one of the longest and most successful (technically speaking) captaincies in their history, and with the team still completely behind its predecessor, Joe Root. He has a hell of a job to do.
Play with a smile
A central philosophy of McCullum. Perhaps James Anderson will find it difficult to understand.
If in doubt, specify. McCullum has his international cap numbers on his shoulder; Stokes has them on his arm. McCullum has a silver fern on his chest; Stokes has one on his shoulder, plus a pride of lions on his back. Both have tributes to their wives and children among their body art. Expect to see Mark Wood get his imaginary horse tattooed on his buttocks, Jack Leach get 1* carved into his neck and Zak Crawley discover some Maori heritage.
So this is it. England’s Test decline has been slow and painful, but now they’ll live fast (or kill the format trying). It’s time for the Barmy Army members to all step out to get “Baz Boys 4 Life” tattoos on one bicep.