A 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan, in Pakistan. And a team that is revelling in the freedom and confidence the captain imparts: Ben Stokes is acing it all. And garnering gushes from his coach.
Brendon McCullum called Stokes’ captaincy “incredible” and said he had taken it to a new level during the 3-0 series win in Pakistan, according to cricket.com.au.
That England tired over illnesses in the squad, and the way Stokes handled his troops gas come in for praise. “All three Tests were thrilling affairs on England’s first tour of Pakistan in 17 years, while off the field they have pulled together in the face of adversity as several squad members were ill during the month-long trip. And with a home Ashes series on the horizon in June, after two Tests in New Zealand in February, head coach McCullum believes Stokes deserves all the plaudits,” cricket.au wrote.
In his first overseas series success as skipper, England have looked transformed since he was appointed in April, the website added. The McCullum and Stokes combine gave given England 9 out if 10 wins, with a brand of cricket that emphasises attacking play.
“He seems to have (taken it to a new level), it’s quite incredible,” McCullum said of the 31-year-old Stokes. “What we see on the field, pulling the strings, is one thing – he’s constantly active, making plays and always thinking about wickets and he’s so consistent with his message that he doesn’t care about runs.
“That’s one thing, but what he does off the field is quite remarkable: his man-management, his general positivity is quite staggering.
I thought he’d be good but he continues to exceed expectations. He and I are starting to build a really good relationship, not just on the field but off it as well. We’ve got a good one.”
McCullum picked his man-management style narrating behind the scenes incident in getting an ill Jack Leach through the second Test in Multan. “The most obvious example was when Jack Leach was crook in the second game and Stokesy was unbelievably ill as well – he never talked about that, he was just concerned about the other guys, trying to work out who was going to take the field,” the New Zealander said.
“He went to Leachy’s room, he was pretty much a non-starter, and he said, ‘You’re playing, I’ll get you through, I desperately need you in this team because you’re so important to us’.
“That’s a pretty powerful message from someone as strong-willed and with a personality like Stokesy. But that’s just one example – there’s loads – it blows you away. The subcontinent can be challenging when you’ve got security restrictions, but honestly, it’s kind of been the best thing for us.
“The camaraderie that’s developed, the relationships and the way guys interact teaches you so much. It’s been an amazing four weeks and Stokes has been leading that.”
Cricket.au also quoted Harry Brook, who scored a century in all three Tests in Pakistan, saying Stokes led from the front and all the players have bought into the mantra instilled in the dressing room.
“Absolutely, the way he plays his cricket, he leads from the front, but he’s said plenty of times that it will only work if everybody buys into it, and everyone who has played has done that,” Brook was quoted.