Brendon McCullum emerges as a shock candidate to become England’s new Test coach

EXCLUSIVE: Brendon McCullum emerges as a shock candidate to become England’s new TEST coach rather than in a white-ball role… with New Zealander set for high-octane partnership with new red-ball captain Ben Stokes

England could be about to spring a surprise by making Brendon McCullum their Test coach.

A second day of interviews on Tuesday ended with the New Zealander becoming a strong candidate for the red-ball job rather than the white-ball role in England’s new set-up.

And it seems that Ben Stokes, with Test cricket now the England priority, may have got his way over Eoin Morgan in wanting to form a high-octane red-ball partnership with McCullum.

England could be about to spring a surprise by making Brendon McCullum their Test coach

Sportsmail revealed he was a new name on the radar of England managing director Rob Key

Sportsmail revealed he was a new name on the radar of England managing director Rob Key

Sportsmail revealed on Friday that McCullum, the key figure behind New Zealand’s rise in both red and white ball cricket, was a new name on the radar of England managing director Rob Key.

And even though McCullum, head coach of the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders, is known more for his white-ball prowess, it was also revealed that England had noted his role in beginning a red-ball journey with New Zealand that led to last year’s World Test Championship.

Gary Kirsten had been the hot favourite for the red-ball role and there might still be a place for him in England’s new set-up, perhaps as coach in white-ball cricket where he led India to the 2011 50-over World Cup.

Kirsten has twice been close to coaching England’s Test side before, narrowly missing out to Chris Silverwood last time, and it could well be a case of third time unlucky if he is pipped at the post this week by McCullum.

McCullum (L) is set for high-octane partnership with new England Test captain Ben Stokes (R)

McCullum (L) is set for high-octane partnership with new England Test captain Ben Stokes (R)

England had noted McCullum's role in beginning a red-ball journey with New Zealand that led to last year's World Test Championship

England had noted McCullum’s role in beginning a red-ball journey with New Zealand that led to last year’s World Test Championship

It is certainly an enticing prospect. McCullum is a big advocate of positive, aggressive but selfless cricket in the Stokes mould and their partnership would be the ideal way for England to win round disillusioned Test supporters.

England need an infusion of positivity after their desperate run of just one win in the last 17 Tests and McCullum appears a better fit alongside new captain Stokes than the more calm, measured South African Kirsten.

White-ball captain Morgan is a close friend of McCullum and would certainly like to join forces with a man who has been his inspiration ahead of what will probably be his last hurrah as England captain at this October’s Twenty20 World Cup.

But Morgan has advised Key on the best way forward for the Test side and could have accepted that Stokes’ need is greater than his in the carving up of the coaching options at England’s disposal.

Gary Kirsten has been the hot favourite for the red-ball role and there might be a place for him

Gary Kirsten has been the hot favourite for the red-ball role and there might be a place for him

Key told Nasser Hussain in a Sportsmail interview last week he would allow his new coaches to remain in IPL while there remains no clash with international cricket, saying: ‘I would rather have the best person for 10 months than the wrong one for 12.’

That would suit both McCullum, 40, and the 54-year-old Kirsten, who is mentor and batting coach of the Gujarat Titans.

Former Kent captain Key is likely to declare his hand later this week and sources close to the decision on Tuesday night indicated the white-ball role could be a three-way battle between Kirsten, Simon Katich and Paul Collingwood. It is understood Nick Knight and Mark Alleyne are also being considered for roles in the set-up.

White-ball captain Eoin Morgan (R) is a close friend of McCullum and would like to join forces

White-ball captain Eoin Morgan (R) is a close friend of McCullum and would like to join forces

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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