‘Bumrah is Unique, But We Have to Find Ways to Counter Him’, Says England Coach Brendon McCullum Ahead of Third Test Against India


India pulled level in the five-match Test series against England with their 106 runs win in the second Test at Vizag thanks to an incredible spell from pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who managed to scalp six wickets in the first innings of the game and added three more in the second to trouble the English batting order.

England coach Brendon McCullum lauded the Indian seamer for his astounding spell that left his side’s batters puzzled, but expressed confidence that his team would find a way to navigate through the pacer’s dangerous overs in the remaining Tests.

McCullum, a threatening batsman himself during his heyday, said that his side’s batters are better than he ever was and that they had to approach the Indian pacer with confidence, despite not laying out a concrete strategy.

“We don’t really do theories. It is about making sure the guys are totally clear and present, confident and have conviction in their method. They are a lot better than I ever was and they will work out how best to go about it,” McCullum said.

“There are contrasting ways of going about it. We will see where we get to. For now, we have to tip our cap to Jasprit and say that spell was as good as anything we have seen so far on this trip,” he commended the star Indian bowler.

“It’s all condition-dependent. When the ball is swinging like that he becomes even more of a threat. He is a fantastic bowler in all forms of the game. He is unique with his release points and with how much swing he can generate in the air,” he continued.

The former Kiwi opener said that his side have managed to play good bowlers in the lead-up to the series and will have to find a way to navigate the threat Bumrah poses.

“No doubt he is very good, but we have come up against very good bowlers all through the last 18 months or so and found ways to counter them and that is what we have got to do in this one,” McCullum said.

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The 42-year-old said that the series being evenly poised at 1-1 is a credit to his side’s performance and the conviction with which his side will approach the upcoming game is as strong as ever.

“We’ve played some really good cricket over the last two Test matches. Yes, we have come out on the wrong side of it here, but we got it across the line in the first one,” he said.

“The conviction about how we go about it is as strong as it ever has been. We have done some really good things over the last couple of weeks,” the English coach asserted.

England have jetted off to Abu Dhabi for the downtime they get to enjoy before the third Test gets underway at Rajkot on the 15th of February. McCullum said that his side will step away from the heat of the battle and spend some quality time with the families before they return to India to play the remainder of the series.

“There will not be a whole lot of training. The boys have worked incredibly hard in Abu Dhabi keeping in mind they all came here with a lot of cricket under their belts as well,” McCullum expressed.

“We have had plenty of training days, and two varying Test matches, and this is an opportunity to step away from the heat of the battle.”

“I was talking to Rahul Dravid and he mentioned all his boys are shooting home as well. Home for us is a little way away, so we chose Abu Dhabi, and we are going to enjoy the families. Then when we get to Rajkot, we drop the shoulder and go hard,” the England head coach added.

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McCullum also addressed the questionable manner in which veteran batter Joe Root was dismissed in the second Test and backed the seasoned English batsman to rack up more runs in the series.

“He’s a world-class player and as good as any player England has ever seen. His method (in the final innings of second Test), whilst people will look to the dismissal, look at the method of his option and he was trying to get the field back so he could milk them,” McCullum said.

“It is the bravery you have to take at times, and sometimes you get out doing it, but that’s just the way the game rolls. There is no doubt from our point of view in that approach.”

“There are three Tests left, still an opportunity to score a whole (lot) of runs,” the 42-year-old concluded.



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