Brendon McCullum is the "perfect person" to turn around England's Test fortunes, according to Andrew Strauss, who was a part of the selection panel for the new men's head coach.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, leading to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes stepping up as skipper in April.

Former opener Rob Key was also appointed as managing director of men's cricket and was tasked with reshaping the faltering structure to make England competitive once more in the five-day game.

As well as confirming Stokes as captain, a decision was made to hire separate coaches for the red ball and limited-overs sides, with McCullum announced as Test coach on Thursday.

The decision represents somewhat of a gamble as New Zealand legend McCullum has only ever coached T20 franchises in the form of Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

However, McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand and captained the side through a transformative period, and Strauss believes the 40-year-old is a great appointment by England.

"I'm delighted and I'm excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach," the England and Wales Cricket Board's strategic adviser Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He's a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in the Test team at a time when confidence is a bit low and people need a bit of clarity and direction.

"He's an impressive guy. He can't wait to start and, quite frankly, I can't wait for him to start.

"[As a player] he was incredibly ambitious, he used to run down the wicket against some of the quickest bowlers in the world.

"He always took the positive option, he wasn't scared of failing, he wasn't scared of making mistakes and I think that is what this Test team needs at the moment.

"They need someone to back them, to give them confidence and inspire them, and they need to break the shackles and realise how good they are. I think he's the perfect person to do that."

McCullum's first task will see England host his country of birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts at Lord's on June 2.

Former England captain Michael Atherton has praised the "bold and imaginative" appointment of Brendon McCullum by England.

McCullum was named England's new Test head coach on Thursday, replacing Chris Silverwood after his dismissal in the wake of the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

Rob Key decided to bring in separate Test and white-ball head coaches after he was appointed as managing director of England men's cricket last month and chose McCullum for the longer form of the game.

"I think it's a very bold and imaginative choice, and an inspiring choice from Rob Key," Atherton told Sky Sports.

"Giving Ben Stokes the captaincy was the obvious choice and so his first big decision was to give Brendon McCullum the Test job.

"A week or so ago I don't think that was on anybody's radars, so he's not made the obvious choice here, but I think it's a very bold choice."

McCullum captained New Zealand and has coached in limited overs cricket in the Caribbean and Indian Premier Leagues, but this is his first coaching job in Test cricket.

Atherton does not think that lack of experience is a problem, however.

"I don't think it's a concern. Some other people within the professional coaching environment may think so," the former Lancashire batsman said.

"His limited coaching experience has come in the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders and in the CPL with their sister team. But he did play 100 Tests, scored a Test match triple hundred and he was very significant in Test cricket in his own right.

"As captain, he really led New Zealand into a brave new era, from the moment he took over – in Cape Town 2013 – the very first innings New Zealand were bowled out for 45. It was a really low ebb and a very difficult transition from Ross Taylor.

"But after that, he led boldly and fearlessly, and transformed that New Zealand team to the point which he laid the foundations for Kane Williamson's team that became World Test champions and have been very significant players in ICC events. So as a captain and as a leader, he's got plenty of experience in Test cricket."

Atherton also believes the relationship between McCullum and new England skipper Ben Stokes should thrive given both have similar aggressive approaches to the game.

"He's a nice fit with Stokes, they both approach the game and play the game in a similar manner and they'll look to give very clear message, captain and coach, and show they're singing from the same hymn sheet to a team you now expect to be given a bit of freedom and licence to play," he said.

"Neither Stokes nor McCullum are shy characters when it comes to playing the game of cricket, they like to take the game on and play it aggressively.

"One assumes that McCullum as a coach is going to be very similar to McCullum as a player and captain."

Brendon McCullum's appointment as England's Test head coach is "good news" for James Anderson and Stuart Broad, according to former New Zealand bowler Simon Doull.

McCullum was confirmed on Thursday as the successor to Chris Silverwood, taking up his first coaching role at international level.

The former Black Caps captain will step down from his role as head coach of Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders at the end of the season, having also previously coached similarly named Caribbean Premier League team, Trinbago Knight Riders.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Doull believes McCullum's loyalty will mean England's two leading Test wicket takers will have no concerns about being left out of the squad again, after both were overlooked for the recent Test series against West Indies.

When asked if it would be good news or bad news for Anderson and Broad shortly before the official confirmation, Doull replied: "Good news. Absolute good news.

"Not only is [McCullum] an astute cricketer and an astute cricket brain, he's also quite a loyal bloke and I think there is a little bit of cricket left in both those guys, and probably a little bit more in Stuart Broad than some might think, so I would imagine it'll be very good news for those gentlemen."

Doull also said he thinks McCullum will get on well with Stokes, who was appointed as Joe Root's replacement as England's Test captain last month.

"I think there's a huge amount of respect already," he said. "I'd like to think [Stokes] would be the sort of captain who would want to own that team, and I don't think Brendon will have a problem with that whatsoever.

"He will do everything he can to get the best out of what is, outside of Joe Root, England's best cricketer... He knows as well as a captain [with New Zealand], he kind of ran that team. [Former head coach] Mike Hesson facilitated, he coached from the periphery... but Brendon basically ran that team and I would imagine he'll look for Ben Stokes to do the same thing.

Doull – who made 32 Test appearances for the Black Caps, taking 98 wickets – was also keen to back McCullum, in particular suggesting that he will want England to play their own style, rather than trying to adopt another.

"[McCullum's] best qualities? Very simple as far as his philosophies are concerned," he added.

"He turned New Zealand around completely [as captain], just because he wanted a New Zealand way to play and maybe that's something he'll look to do with England as well. Play the England style of cricket rather than trying to play like someone else, or invent a style that's not really suitable for English players.

"He's a straight talker... there's no airs and graces about Brendon. He's a South Island boy brought up pretty hard, pretty tough, and he played his cricket exactly that way.

"He will have enormous respect from the players... and he's obviously already had good conversations with Ben Stokes and [England managing director] Rob Key.

"So communication, tough but honest, and he will find a philosophy, I think, that works. Those will be his key things." 

New Zealand legend Brendon McCullum has been appointed England's Test head coach.

The 40-year-old was confirmed on Thursday as Chris Silverwood's successor and will take up his first coaching role at international level.

Former Black Caps captain McCullum had been considered a strong candidate to coach England's white-ball teams, having been employed by Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders.

Rob Key decided to bring in separate Test and white-ball head coaches after he was appointed as managing director of England men's cricket last month.

Key led the interviews for both roles this week, and it is former wicketkeeper-batter McCullum who has been given the opportunity to turn England's fortunes around in the longest format under new skipper Ben Stokes.

McCullum said: "I'd like to say how pleased I am to be given this opportunity to positively contribute to England's Test cricket set-up and move the team forward into a more successful era.

"In taking this role on, I am acutely aware of the significant challenges the team faces at present, and I strongly believe in my ability to help the team emerge as a stronger force once we've confronted them head-on.

"I've enjoyed several robust conversations with Rob Key about the direction of travel for the team and have found his enthusiasm contagious. I'm no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment, and I can't wait to get started.

"Ben Stokes is the perfect character to inspire change around him, and I look forward to working closely with him to build a successful unit around us."

New Zealand legend Brendon McCullum has been appointed England's Test head coach.

The 40-year-old was confirmed on Thursday as Chris Silverwood's successor and will take up his first coaching role at international level.

Former Black Caps captain McCullum had been considered a strong candidate to coach England's white-ball teams, having been employed by Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders.

Rob Key decided to bring in separate Test and white-ball head coaches after he was appointed as managing director of England men's cricket last month.

Key led the interviews for both roles this week, and it is former wicketkeeper-batter McCullum who has been given the opportunity to turn England's fortunes around in the longest format under new skipper Ben Stokes.

McCullum said: "I'd like to say how pleased I am to be given this opportunity to positively contribute to England's Test cricket set-up and move the team forward into a more successful era.

"In taking this role on, I am acutely aware of the significant challenges the team faces at present, and I strongly believe in my ability to help the team emerge as a stronger force once we've confronted them head-on.

"I've enjoyed several robust conversations with Rob Key about the direction of travel for the team and have found his enthusiasm contagious. I'm no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment, and I can't wait to get started.

"Ben Stokes is the perfect character to inspire change around him, and I look forward to working closely with him to build a successful unit around us."

World Rugby has confirmed Australia and the United States as the next two hosts of the men's Rugby World Cup.

The men's tournament will be held in Australia in 2027, and the women's World Cup will be hosted Down Under two years later. 

Australia has not hosted the men's tournament since 2003, when Jonny Wilkinson's last-gasp drop-goal ensured victory for England over the Wallabies in the final.

The USA, meanwhile, will host the competition for the very first time in 2031, with the women's tournament held there in 2033. The next women's World Cup, in 2025, will take place in England.

World Rugby confirmed the news at its annual meeting in Dublin on Thursday, promising to deliver "a golden decade for the sport".

Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, said: "We have approved three exceptional Rugby World Cup host nations – England, Australia and the USA – providing unprecedented certainty and an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally. It is great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations.

"Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all."

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan labelled it as "an historic day for rugby in Australia", while USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said: "I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country."

The next men's World Cup will be held in France in 2023, with South Africa the reigning champions following their triumph over England in 2019 in Japan.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin labelled the crowd trouble at the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy as unacceptable and warned it must never happen again.

Italy secured their first European Championship since 1968 with a penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley Stadium in July, but the game was marred by clashes before the final.

Hundreds of supporters without tickets attempted to gain entry prior to kick-off, with an independent review later concluding it was "clear we were close to fatalities and/or life-changing injuries for some, potentially many" of the fans in attendance after 17 mass breaches of Wembley's gates.

UEFA punished the Football Association (FA) with a two-game stadium ban, one of which is suspended for two years, and an £84,560 fine.

The FA subsequently apologised and said it was appalled at the disorder that saw ticketless fans fight with stewards and police officers in an attempt to force their way into the stadium.

Ceferin, who was in attendance at the final, reinforced his disappointment with the failures of football as he spoke to a UEFA congress in Vienna on Wednesday.

"We still have many problems to solve to make our sport a role model and greater source of inspiration than it is today," Ceferin said.

"The images of violence at Wembley Stadium at last year's Euro final are unacceptable.

"When a family goes to see a match of any competition, it should be a time for fun, celebration and enjoyment. People should feel safe in and around a stadium.

"They should never feel in danger. With the authorities' help, this cannot happen again. Ever."

 

Joe Root captaining England "at the most horrendous time" for his side in Test cricket is "one of the great sporting achievements", according to new men's managing director Rob Key.

Root succeeded Alastair Cook as red-ball captain in 2017 and resigned last April after a torrid run of one win in 17 Tests, with a 1-0 series defeat to West Indies the final straw.

Yorkshireman Root still delivered remarkable returns with the bat in 2021, despite England's struggles, scoring 1,708 runs in 15 matches, including two double centuries and a further four tons.

Only Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 in 2006) and West Indies legend Viv Richards (1,710 in 1976) have ever managed more in a single calendar year.

Key, tasked with transforming English cricket in his new role, appointed Ben Stokes as the new skipper of the Test side but was quick to credit Root for his efforts during a tumultuous period.

"I remember just thinking: Oh, my God. Joe Root. How well has he done?," Key told Sky Sports. "We obviously know he's had a great year but he has had that year when he was doing everything as well it seemed.

"There was so much put on his shoulders. He was trying to be the ambassador for the England team that he is as a captain, and in a team that was struggling and the way that he was playing and what he was able to do. It's honestly one of the great achievements.

"Statistically it will just look in history as 'He got this amount of runs and he did this and he was this as a captain', but it won't actually say in there, 'Oh, and by the way, it was the most horrendous time to be an England cricketer, where you are under so much pressure and the captain was the lone man doing it all'.

"It's one of the great sporting achievements. And as well for him to then now seem to have somehow parked it all to some degree and he's like, right, what do you need? How do we move on from here? How can I help Ben? We probably don't realise how lucky we are to have him."

 

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have 1,177 Test wickets between them but were surprise omissions for the tour of West Indies, as Root travelled with a new-look side under the interim stewardship of Paul Collingwood.

However, Key and Stokes have both made it clear that England plan to reintroduce the pair for the three-Test series against New Zealand, which starts on June 2 at Lord's.

Key also acknowledged why Broad and Anderson were left out of the squad, even if he would not have done the same thing.

"I don't look at everything as just black or white, I always look at the reason," Key said. "I always thought this as a pundit; if there's logic behind what they're doing to some degree, then fine, I can understand why people are doing it.

"There was no logic to me when England in the World Cup in 2015, dropped Alastair Cook and then brought in Gary Ballance. There's no part of me that can understand why you would do that.

"But there's part of me that can understand with Broad and Anderson away from home, getting on a bit as well when you wanted to try and find out about other people. I can understand that. It doesn't mean that I would have done it – but I've shown now that they've come back."

Top Windies batsman Chris Gayle believes the position of team captain is good for a player’s individual growth and insists he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the position.

The hard-hitting left-hander served as captain of the West Indies team from 2007 to 2010, with what can be described as mixed fortunes.  In One Day International’s Gayle led the team for 53 games, winning 17 and losing 30 for a 56 percent win ratio.  In Tests, he was in charge for 20 matches, winning 3 losing 9, and drawing 8.

Despite the record and a few controversies, Gayle believes his time in charge was well worth it.

“It made me a better person.  It grows you and you relate to people more.  You know who is for you.  It gives you a challenge and when the pressure is on that when you know who will fight for you and who is there for you.  It’s always a good thing to be a captain and a good thing to lead your country as well,” Gayle told Talksport Radio.

Gayle, in the meantime, has commended England for their choosing Ben Stokes as their new captain and tipped the all-rounder to excel in the role.

“I think it’s the best choice to have a guy like Ben Stokes, he’s been around world-class players and a proper all-rounder.  I think he’s the best choice to lead the England side.  It was tough for Joe Root to step down, but I’m sure he will get support from Root and the rest of the players.”

The West Indies recently made a new captaincy appointment of their own after Nicholas Pooran was appointed ODI captain following the recent retirement of Kieron Pollard.

Ben Stokes is happy to call on Joe Root's advice as the all-rounder prepares to lead England's Test side.

Root was appointed as successor to England great Alastair Cook in 2017 and went on to win 27 red-ball matches while in charge of the team, which is a record.

However, Root also holds the record for the most red-ball defeats while captain of his country (26) and England have won only one of their past 17 Tests and are winless in five series in the longest format. 

That dismal run of form, capped by a 1-0 series defeat to West Indies earlier this year, resulted in Root stepping down in April.

England are also without a coach, with Chris Silverwood having left his post following a 4-0 hammering in the Ashes, though former batsman Rob Key has now been appointed as the new managing director.

Root, whose own form was superb in 2021 as he scored 1,708 runs across 29 innings at an average of 61 and a strike rate of 56.85, is nevertheless set to remain a prominent member of England's Test team, and Stokes is pleased to have someone he hailed as a "great man" by his side.

 

"Joe phoned me before it became public about his decision. It was a very brief chat, it was probably not the right time to start reminiscing about everything while he was on the phone," Stokes said in an interview posted to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) official website.

"And then I phoned him before it became public that I'd taken it because I didn't want him to see it on social media.

"When Joe took over, I was made vice-captain, it was a really exciting time.

"I think there's a handful of players who I think will have respect after the game. Every player who's played under him, players in the future as well, will see what a great man he is. He's a real carer of people that he plays with.

"Our friendship goes beyond just being team-mates, we've known each other since we were 14 years old.

"I'm looking forward to working with him in a different capacity but I'll also be using him a lot because I've got a lot to learn about being captain."

While Stokes is aware that England's Test team needs a refresh after their poor run, his immediate priority is simple.

"I just want to win games," he said. "At the end of the day being a captain is about winning games, that's what you get judged on.

"Obviously you've got to mould the team, create a winning mentality, which you need to have at the top level, but my main goal, I think my duty is to win as many games as possible. That's my main goal."

Stokes' first matches in charge come in June, when England host New Zealand in a three-Test series.

The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the "Hand of God" goal has fetched over £7million at auction, the highest price ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia.

Maradona scored two of the most memorable goals in World Cup history to knock England out at the quarter-final stage in the 1986 tournament in Mexico.

The late, great former Argentina captain rose above Peter Shilton to knock the first in with his fist at the Azteca Stadium, with the officials failing to spot the infringement.

Moments later, he beat a series of England players with a sublime dribble on the way to scoring a magnificent solo goal as Argentina won 2-1 and went on to be crowned world champions.

England midfielder Steve Hodge ended up with the shirt after swapping with Maradona – who passed away in November 2020 – following the match.

The shirt has been on loan to the National Football Museum in Manchester, but was put up for auction at Sotheby's in London for a bidding period between April 20 to May 4, with estimators expecting it to collect around £4m.

However, the successful bid ended up being significantly higher, with Sotheby's confirming on Wednesday that the shirt went for a whopping £7,142,500.

That eye-watering total makes it the most expensive piece of sporting attire in history, with a 1928-30 road jersey of baseball icon Babe Ruth setting the previous record in 2019, going for £4.4m ($5.6m).

Andrew McDonald says he would not have taken a job with England as he does not agree with splitting the coaching roles.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are in the process of recruiting separate head coaches for the Test and limited-overs teams after sacking Chris Silverwood.

Rob Key opted to move away from having one head coach to be in charge of every side following his recent appointment as managing director of England men's cricket.

McDonald was appointed as Australia head coach for all formats last month and he believes it is important to have just one boss.

Asked if there was any prospect of him going for a job with England, he told SEN: "No I don't think there was a risk.

"I think the way that they're going to set-up, structure up, is clear. I think they're going to go for a split coaching role. My views on that differ slightly.

"My belief is to still have that one coach and share the workload within that. I think for me the continuity of messaging is critical. But also the priorities shift. And people probably don't like me saying this, but the priorities do shift at certain times. You can't be everything to everyone.

"For example, Pat Cummins, on the back of three Test matches in Pakistan, at the end of that he's severely fatigued and then the white-ball team gets compromised because Pat Cummins isn't playing. But he's not ready to perform in that environment.

"If you had split coaches, which format takes priority? So, I think the ability to have one selection panel, one coach to work through that, give the direction to what the priorities are at the time and managing the overall squad as such and then someone, potentially a Michael Di Venuto or another assistant coach, coming in to allow the head coach to balance the workload but still stick on the same path.

"For example, we're going to build towards the 2023 World Cup, am I going to do every one-day game leading into that World Cup? There's no chance of that. So I think that the continuity of messaging for me is important."

 

Michael Atherton wants Ben Stokes to take the opportunity to "grab hold" of the dressing room if England are still without a head coach in his first Test as captain against New Zealand.

Stokes was last week confirmed as the successor to Joe Root, who ended his long reign as skipper following a nightmare Ashes series in Australia and subsequent disappointment in the Caribbean. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are not due to start interviewing for both a Test and limited-overs head coach until next week, with Chris Silverwood sacked after the 4-0 hammering Down Under.

England start a three-match Test series against the Black Caps at Lord's on June 2 and former skipper Atherton believes Stokes can stamp his authority on the side in the absence of a head coach.

He told Sky Sports News: "Ben Stokes will be his own man; he has got a chance to shape that team now and take it in a different direction.

"There may not be a coach in place in time. These things go through a process; I think May 6 is when job applications close and June 2 is the first Test match. That's quite tight.

"That's not a bad thing in my view. I don't think since Sir Andrew Strauss that an England captain has really grabbed hold of a dressing room.

"If there is no coach in there, it will be a chance for Ben to absolutely grab hold of it, mould the team and say 'this is the way we're going to run things.'

"When [Paul] Farbrace was interim coach before [Trevor] Bayliss came in, that was actually when Stokes came back into the side, so it's not a disaster if a coach is not in place by June 2."

Atherton is fully behind the decision to split coaching duties, but did not specify who he wants to take over from Silverwood.

The former opening batter added: "Who should it be? My goodness, all of the candidates that have been talked about are very good. Gary Kirsten is a very good candidate, Simon Katich an excellent candidate. There will be any number of people.

"It's the right thing though to split, or look to split, the job. Years ago I said on Sky that England needed to consider split coaching roles. You look at the schedules now, they are so crammed, it's very difficult for one man to do everything.

"In the middle of the summer, England will be in Amsterdam for some one-day internationals in the middle of a Test series. How does one man plan for that? It's impossible.

"Last year when England were in Dubai playing the T20 World Cup, the Ashes were coming up two weeks later. Impossible.

"Looking to split responsibilities is exactly the right way to go. Two distinct coaching staffs for Test cricket and limited-overs cricket, that will make life much easier."

Reggae Girlz striker Khadija Shaw scored four goals to help Manchester City Women secure a 7-2 hammering of Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Super League at the Manchester City Academy Stadium on Saturday.

Shaw, who now has eight goals in 15 matches this season in the WSL, scored her goals in the 3rd, 12th, 57th and 61st minutes to help her Manchester City team move to third in the table with 41 points from 20 matches.

“The team looks to me to score goals so to get four today is an unbelievable feeling,” Shaw said in a post-match interview.

The other City goals came from Caroline Weir in the 16th, Alex Greenwood in the 68th and Lauren Hemp in the 69th minute.

Chelsea currently leads the WSL with 50 points from 20 matches followed by Arsenal with 46 points from 19 matches.

Ben Stokes has told England chiefs he wants James Anderson and Stuart Broad back in the Test team under his captaincy.

The new skipper believes it is too soon to dispense with the fast-bowling expertise of the duo who between them have taken 1,177 wickets in the five-day international game.

Broad, 35, looks set to add to his 152 caps, and 39-year-old Anderson can expect to boost his total of 169 Test appearances in the upcoming series against New Zealand.

That is set to mark Stokes' debut as England's new full-time Test captain, with the first match beginning on June 2 at Lord's.

Joe Root's successor made it an urgent matter when he spoke to new England managing director Rob Key, after the pace pair were left out for the recent West Indies series and used sparingly in the Ashes.

"When I met Ben Stokes the other day, one of the first things he said was, 'Jimmy and Broady are back'," Key said.

"I said, 'Absolutely, no problem'. Now that might have been a bit of a problem if I didn't think that, but I was on exactly the same page.

"That wasn't much of a debate, we both agreed. I sat with Broady a week and a half ago and Jimmy last night. They're both keen and ready to go."

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