Confident Brendon McCullum may have to gamble to make impact again


In a polar reversal of England's stance in these matters, New Zealand's captain revealed his team and his preferred strategy. Of course, it is always possible that Brendon McCullum was playing the sportsmen's old double bluff, though it did not sound like it and either way he was supplying information.

McCullum said that New Zealand may opt for a four-man seam attack in the first Test at Lord's but have not definitely discarded the left-arm spinner Bruce Martin. He confirmed that the final place was between Martin and the returning fast bowler, Doug Bracewell. Neil Wagner, who came into the side two months ago when Bracewell injured a foot in an accident at home has done enough to keep his place.

"He's definitely a chance and it does look quite dry," he said of Martin. "But the overhead conditions are something that we've got to be aware of and also try and take into account the forecast, if the game gets shortened how that impacts on the spinner's ability to impose himself on the game. Either way we've got good options. Wagner definitely plays, it's either Martin or Bracewell for that final position."

Nor will McCullum be wary of bowling first as he did twice in the recent series between the sides in New Zealand. It was successful on the first occasion in Dunedin when England were bowled out for 167, less so on the second in Wellington when England made 465 in their most proficient innings of the series.

Asked if he would bowl again if the coin falls his way, McCullum said: "I think so. I'm not going to hang my hat on it just yet but just with what's forecast and the fact it may not be a five-day game, if you can maybe get a jump it may be bowling first. The pitch looks dryish, it may be that cloud cover that's going to give you a good jump if you do manage to win the toss."

This was in contrast to Alastair Cook, who is continuing in the recent tradition of England captains in revealing the square root of nothing if they can possibly help it. New Zealand, on top after the three matches at home although the series finished 0-0, may feel they have nothing to lose. By common consent McCullum looked the more effective captain in the series at home. While it should not be forgotten that Cook had engineered an historic England triumph in India only weeks previously, there was no question that he seemed reactive compared to his counterpart's willingness to improvise and attack.

"It was circumstantial," said McCullum. "Our team was playing some excellent cricket and for most of that series we were either on par or with our noses in front. I'd hope that they're educated gambles. Just because you don't run past the principal's office doesn't mean you're not doing your homework. Whilst it may appear you're trying to follow your instinct there's elements of study and preparation which have gone into those thoughts."

For New Zealand to compete over 10 days, the first five of them at the shrine of world cricket, McCullum may have to gamble again. He has his chips at the ready.

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam