‘Won’t Be Afraid to Play All Spinners if Wickets Keep Turning’: McCullum’s Ultimatum Ahead of Vizag Test

Curated By: Aakash Biswas

Last Updated: January 30, 2024, 20:06 IST

Brendon McCullum hints at an all-spin bowling attack in Vizag Test against India

Brendon McCullum hints at an all-spin bowling attack in Vizag Test against India

With uncapped Shoaib Bashir in the mix, Brendon McCullum has cleared that he won’t hesitate to field an all-spin bowling unit if required

After foxing India with their spin attack in Hyderabad, England are ready for the challenge which awaits them in Vizag. On Sunday, Ben Stokes & Co defeated the hosts by 28 runs in the opening Test with debutant Tom Hartley bagging seven in the second innings having gone for plenty in the first. The left-arm spinner not only produced a match-winning spell but also dented the psyche of the Indian batters who might have to face an all-spin attack in the second Test, starting Friday.

England head coach Brendon McCullum is eagerly waiting to have a look at the track and judge how it would behave. With uncapped Shoaib Bashir in the mix, the former Kiwi captain has cleared that he won’t hesitate to field an all-spin bowling unit if required.

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“If the wickets continue to spin as much as what we saw in the first Test as the series goes on, look, we won’t be afraid to play all spinners or a balance of what we’ve got,” McCullum told SEN Radio.

“Bash (Bashir), he was obviously with us during our camp in Abu Dhabi, and he really impressed with his skill set. He fitted in seamlessly within the group, and he’s a guy who’s got an immense amount of enthusiasm, albeit at a young age and pretty limited in his first-class experience.”

“When he arrived, boys gave him a huge cheer, and he got to witness something pretty special with the fellas bowling us to a Test win. He comes into calculations for the next Test match,” he added.

Hartley managed to grab nine wickets in his debut Test, including mesmerising figures of seven for 62 in the second innings. McCullum believes that allowing him to play with freedom was a real sign of leadership from Stokes.

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“He’s only played a handful of first-class games and was probably a bit of a punt, selection-wise. But, we saw something in him that we thought would work over there, and he’s a tough character. The way that the skipper handled him was quite remarkable, and he obviously brought us to a Test win. I thought that was a real sign of leadership,” McCullum said.

“It was a clear message to not just Tom, but those that are around the squad, that when we talk about freedom, taking the game on and trying to come in and make a difference, you’re not going to be cast aside or taken off the crease from the first sign of danger.

“I thought it was a magnificent decision by the skipper to do that. And, I think it allowed Tom to feel like he belonged and he knew what his role was,” he added.

(With Agency Inputs)

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