Brendon McCullum, the pioneering former New Zealand captain, has emerged as the favourite to become England’s Test head coach with an announcement on the successful candidate due this week.
Rob Key, the director of England men’s cricket, is looking to recruit separate coaches for the Test and white-ball sides, with McCullum among those known to have been first sounded out and then interviewed during the past couple of days.
It was widely believed the 40-year-old McCullum’s application would relate to the limited-overs vacancy, given a nascent coaching career spent exclusively in franchise T20 cricket and a close friendship with Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball captain.
But there is now a growing expectation that McCullum may take charge of the Test set-up in a move that would combine his aggressive outlook with the captaincy of Ben Stokes, with a first assignment against New Zealand at Lord’s on 2 June.
If so it would mean Gary Kirsten missing out of the role once more, having been runner-up when Chris Silverwood was hired in 2019. That said, the former South Africa and India head coach has a strong reputation for augmenting sides with existing depth and so could yet secure the equivalent position with the white-ball set-up.
Paul Collingwood, currently an assistant coach with England, is another being considered for the limited-overs role while the former Australia batsman Simon Katich has similarly been part of a recruitment process that began when Key took charge of the men’s national teams at the start of last month.
Appointing McCullum for the Test team would be a bold move by Key and one that will invite questions about the domestic coaching landscape in England, not least since the former wicketkeeper-batter has never coached a first-class side himself.
McCullum is, however, widely credited for changing the culture of New Zealand’s Test team as captain between 2013 and 2016 and laying the foundation for the World Test Championship title last year under his successor, Kane Williamson.
McCullum is coaching Kolkata Knightriders in the Indian Premier League but Key has said previously he is open to England’s head coach having a second job in the world’s most lucrative T20 tournament if it secures the right candidate.