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Brendon McCullum urges England to be flexible for UAE challenge

Brendon McCullum urges England to be flexible for UAE challenge
Brendon McCullum feels that England will have to be versatile in their team-selection and strategies to succeed on their upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
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New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum feels that England will have to take a flexible approach to team selection and strategy to succeed in their upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

England’s refreshingly positive approach, which began in the home series against New Zealand, has propelled them to Ashes glory but McCullum feels that the team will need to add a new gear to their game in the UAE.

Having led New Zealand to a drawn Test series and an One-Day International series win in the UAE last year, McCullum stressed the need to be innovative to succeed in sub-continental conditions.

Always known to be a very bold and shrewd captain, McCullum also offered some suggestions for the England team management.

“The fact is you have to do things differently in Asia,” McCullum wrote in the UK’s Daily Mail.

“They will need two spinners against Pakistan, and the best way to achieve that is to turn Moeen Ali into an opener.

“He’ll enjoy the lack of bounce, and looks like a perfect horse for a course.”

England’s other major assignment away from home will be the tour of South Africa that comes after the Pakistan series.

McCullum underlined the need to adapt to the varying conditions for achieving success and urged England to tweak their combinations accordingly.

“In terms of the tour to South Africa that follows the UAE, you wouldn’t want Ali opening there, because the pitches are bouncier.

“Alex Hales may come into play.”

While England have always been a competitive team in recent years, their recently found aggressive mentality is what has impressed McCullum in a big way.

The 33-year-old feels that this fearless brand of cricket displayed by England will help the side to scale greater peaks in future.

While pointing out the change in attitude of the England team, McCullum also opined that the players had become more selfless in their performances.

“What’s really struck me is the change in attitude of English cricket,” he wrote.

“In the games I’ve played against them over the years, they’ve always been a stoical bunch, and hard to beat but they could be pretty stuck in their ways.

“And I always felt that the mindset of county cricket permeated into the Test team.

“It was all about a group of individuals protecting their stats and careers, rather than buying into a team cause.”

England’s revamped management structure has coincided with the team’s new-found mentality which McCullum feels has been vital to the side’s recent success.

With a new coach and fresh mindset, McCullum is pleased that England are finally coming of age as an international team.

“Under the Trevor Bayliss-Alastair Cook ticket, we’re starting to see a side who have embraced a change of culture - and so are playing a much more attractive style of cricket.

“The guys are playing with a smile on their face, and they seem to have bought into a system where the team comes before the individual.

“It’s great for world cricket that England are finally playing in a manner which excites neutrals.”

Having endured a hectic international schedule over the past one year, McCullum opted out of New Zealand’s recent Zimbabwe tour and the ongoing series in South Africa, thereby allowing Kane Williamson to gain vital experience as captain as team builds for the future.

© Cricket World 2015