Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have recently had success with everything they touch, and the England coaching staff has another big goal in mind when they take on Australia next year in an attempt to retain the Ashes.
By winning the third and final Test in Karachi on Tuesday, England completed their responsibilities for 2022 and completed their first Test series in Pakistan in 17 years.
Following Stokes’ promotion to Test captain and McCullum’s appointment as coach, the side had an unmatched eight-month stretch during which Stokes took over for Joe Root.
During a strong stretch of red-ball cricket, England only suffered one defeat while sweeping convincing Test series victories over New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan. They even had time to win the postponed Test against India in Edgbaston.
While winning the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia last month may have been England’s pinnacle achievement for 2022, their Test form has been just as dominant, and it’s a shame that before McCullum and Stokes’ burgeoning partnership, they were already out of the running for the ICC World Test Championship.
But when the two bitter rivals face off on English soil in the middle of the following year, England may find that to their advantage as they strive to reclaim the Ashes from Australia for the first time since 2015.
Stokes confesses he had his eye on the Test series for some time, despite never being one to plan too far ahead. Stokes is the standout all-rounder and captain of the ever-improving England team.
Stokes remarked after the Test whitewash in Pakistan, “I certainly have my eye on the Ashes and have got small stuff about that in the back of my head.”
We’ll just keep becoming better as a team, spend more time together, and keep enjoying ourselves while playing cricket and succeeding as much as we can.
The recent success of England has been greatly influenced by having fun, and Stokes stated he will keep looking for ways to inspire and motivate his colleagues.
“It’s an exciting time to be in this locker room and to be representing England. I’m just urging everyone to show up each day and take pleasure in what they’re doing. Obviously, when we are winning like we are right now, it is simpler to do “said Stokes.
“The real test will come when things don’t go as planned, and then we should make that even more of a point to bring up in public. But I really hope it never comes to that.”
The trophy celebration after the Karachi Test, when Stokes handed the trophy to debutant Rehan Ahmed to display front and center while subtly standing at the back to let his teammates take the glory, seemed to emphasize the importance of taking the time to make everyone feel like part of the success.
This theory appears to be supported by McCullum as well, who claimed that Stokes was the actual brains behind England’s impressive run of success and that he had done “bugger all” behind the scenes.
According to McCullum, the captain “was absolutely fantastic right throughout the (Pakistan) series.”
The most outstanding aspect, in our opinion, is his man-management skills and ability to get the best performance out of every member of the side off the field, not just on the field where everyone can see the decisions he makes and the strings he pulls.