It’s quite incredible – Brendon McCullum salutes Ben Stokes’ captaincy style
England head coach Brendon McCullum has hailed Ben Stokes’ “incredible” captaincy and believes he has taken it to a new level during the 3-0 series win in Pakistan.
The tourists completed an eight-wicket victory in the third Test on Tuesday morning to seal a series whitewash few had predicted when they set out for their pre-tour training camp in Abu Dhabi.
All three Tests have been thrilling affairs on England’s first tour of Pakistan in 17 years, while off the field they have pulled together in the face of adversity with several squad members affected by illness during the month-long trip.
McCullum believes Stokes deserves all the plaudits for overseeing a first overseas series success as skipper, and for how he has led the side since being appointed in April.
“He seems to have (taken it to a new level), it’s quite incredible,” he said of the 31-year-old Durham all-rounder.
“What we see on the field, pulling the strings, is one thing – he’s constantly active, making plays and always thinking about wickets and he’s so consistent with his message that he doesn’t care about runs.
“That’s one thing, but what he does off the field is quite remarkable – his man management, his general positivity is quite staggering.
“I thought he’d be good but he continues to exceed expectations. He and I are starting to build a really good relationship, not just on the field but off it as well. We’ve got a good one.”
McCullum drew particular focus to Stokes’ man-management style by highlighting his role in getting an ill Jack Leach through the second Test in Multan.
“The most obvious example was when Jack Leach was crook in the second game and Stokesy was unbelievably ill as well – he never talked about that, he was just concerned about the other guys, trying to work out who was going to take the field,” the New Zealander said.
“He went to Leachy’s room, he was pretty much a non-starter, and he said, ‘You’re playing, I’ll get you through, I desperately need you in this team because you’re so important to us’.
“That’s a pretty powerful message from someone as strong-willed and with a personality like Stokesy. But that’s just one example – there’s loads – it blows you away.
“The subcontinent can be challenging when you’ve got security restrictions, but honestly, it’s kind of been the best thing for us.
“The camaraderie that’s developed, the relationships and the way guys interact teaches you so much – it’s been an amazing four weeks and Stokes has been leading that.”
Harry Brook has been one of England’s standout performers in the series, finishing with a century at each of the three venues – Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi – and with an astounding 468 runs at an average of 93.60 and a strike rate of 93.41 across the three Tests.
The 23-year-old feels Stokes leads from the front and says all the players have bought into the mantra instilled in the dressing room by the current leadership group.
“Absolutely, the way he plays his cricket, he leads from the front, but he’s said plenty of times that it will only work if everybody buys into it, and everyone who has played has done that,” Brook said.
“Everybody has bought into the way that we want to play our cricket and so far it is working well.”
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