England will go into Friday’s re-arranged Test against India with the same aggressive approach to its batting as it displayed in its 3-0 series win over New Zealand, said new captain Ben Stokes.
A new era under Stokes, and coach Brendon McCullum, has been characterised by a more swashbuckling style and England has reaped immediate rewards with a clean sweep of its three Tests against New Zealand, which is the reigning world Test champion.
In each of its Test victories, England reached formidable targets as it took to the Kiwi bowling, digging itself out of difficult situations.
It now meets India at Edgbaston in a re-arranged Test from last year’s series with no plans to take the foot off the accelerator.
“Trust me when I say that we’ll be coming out with exactly the same mindset even if it’s a different opposition,” Stokes said after England’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory at Headingley on Monday.
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“For me, when I took over the job, it was more than the results. It was about changing the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket, about having fun and enjoying the fact that you’re out there representing your country. And then the result will look after itself. That we’ve done it so quickly is just unbelievable,” added Stokes, who was particularly pleased with the buy-in from his teammates after taking over from Joe Root.
“Being 55 for six (in the first innings), and then doing what we managed to do, and in the manner that we did, was probably the most pleasing thing of the series, because it could have been very easy for us to go back into our shell.”
He also praised the role of McCullum, who said on Monday he was hoping to make playing Test cricket simpler for the English team.
“I’ve tried to strip things away, keep things quiet, ignore some of the outside noise,” McCullum said of his approach to a new dressing room.
“I want to try and get these guys a little closer together and to better understand their games. In the professional game, sometimes we can get quite caught up in our own stuff rather than where you sit in the group and being able to bounce things off some of your team mates. My role is try and force a bit more of that and try and give the guys as much confidence as I can,” the former New Zealand captain added.