England’s new Test captain Ben Stokes said Brendon McCullum was already making his side’s players “feel 10 feet tall” ahead of the first Test against New Zealand.
Brendon McCullum makes us feel 10 feet tall: England Test captain Ben Stokes (AP Photo)
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England Test captain Ben Stokes has hailed new coach Brendon McCullum, saying the former New Zealand captain was already making England’s players “feel 10 feet tall” ahead of the first Test against the coach’s native team at Lord’s.
McCullum has been tasked with turning around a team who sit bottom of the current Test championship standings after winning one of their last 17 Tests.
“I’ve said to the guys who are in now: you’ve got the backing,” Stokes told a pre-match news conference at Lord’s on Wednesday.
“This is our time and we are going to dictate how things go forward…I just want everyone to feel free under my captaincy. It’s been a good few days working with Brendon. He is all about making everyone feel, in his own words, ’10 feet tall’. I’m actually not nervous — I am just very excited to get going.”
Stokes added his voice to that of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who has criticized the price of tickets at Lord’s with more than 16,000 still unsold for the five days.
“The ticket prices are something that I think is going to have to be looked at,” he said.
“What is cricket without its fans? What is a sport without its fans? I don’t set the ticket prices but I think it does need to be looked at.”
Durham pace bowler Matthew Potts will make his international debut in the first of three Tests between England and New Zealand. Potts, who has been the outstanding bowler in the county championship this year with 35 wickets at 18.57 each, will join veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad who have been recalled after they were omitted from the team who lost 1-0 in the West Indies this year.
Ben Stokes, who has taken over the England captaincy from Joe Root after a dismal winter for England in Australia and the Caribbean, completes the pace quartet. However, at least six other leading pace bowlers, including Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, are unavailable through injury.