England red-ball team's 'Bazball' got its first major reality check at home against Australia in one of the best Ashes series in recent times. Although the series ended 2-2, the slow over-rate points didn't help England's cause as they have just 9 points from two wins and a draw and now they have another tough assignment to counter - India in India. The Indian team may not be having the best time in Test matches overseas, however, they have been near-invincibles at home and Brendon McCullum and his team have a real challenge on their hands.
England may have won 13 out of 18 matches under the Ben Stokes-McCullum partnership, having lost four with one being a no result, they have failed to present their contention for the World Test Championship final and having lost 19 points already as a penalty, it looks difficult again and five-match series in India might be critical to their chances and McCullum is aware of the same.
Speaking at RCB Innovation Lab's Leaders Meet in India, McCullum admitted that series in India will be their approach's real test. "We have got a huge challenge against a very good Indian team in five tests in India. I am excited about it because you want to test yourself against the best side and I genuinely believe that India is the best in their own condition. It is going to be a good challenge for us. If we have success then fabulous, if we don’t then I know we will go down in the style that we want to go down."
McCullum said that till the time he is in charge, he wants this England team to play the best cricket and this approach has worked for them. So if they are able to do well and entertain people on the way, nothing better.
“We are playing the game, because we love cricket and we want to try and be as good at cricket as we possibly can. During the time that you are in the chair, you want to make sure you enjoy it and you shouldn't wait till the end of your career to do so. We are very lucky that we have had some immediate success but I don't think it is the ceiling for us. I think we have seen some guys who have unlocked their potential in the last 18 months or so and that's what the job is as a leader; to get the most out of the people that you're in charge of," he said.
India will be coming from two Tests against South Africa into a five-match series against England at home from January to March 2024.