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ICC World Cup 2019 | New Zealand Are Lacking a Bit of Swagger: Brendon McCullum

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and current England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan share a great camaraderie ever since they played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Cricketnext Staff |July 2, 2019, 4:08 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | New Zealand Are Lacking a Bit of Swagger: Brendon McCullum

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and current England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan share a great camaraderie ever since they played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. England have become a formidable unit under the leadership of Morgan and the 32-year-old has never shied away from accepting how his team has adopted to McCullum-brand of cricket to rise through the ranks.

"We just hit it off. We like racing, we like beer, we like golf, we like playing free-spirited cricket, we are very similar people and, while at quite different stages of our lives, our relationship is fantastic," McCullum told Daily Mail.

"He is someone I trust 100 percent, he trusts me, and we’ve grown that friendship. We spend time together in New Zealand, here in England, and stay at each other’s houses.

"It’s been amazing to watch what he’s done with this England side since he took over. He’s really shifted the thinking of how to approach one-day cricket over here, which is pretty awesome to see, and I haven’t been surprised that they have managed to keep up their way of playing as Eoin’s very consistent and has strong belief in his methods and his leadership.

"He believes being positive is going to give his team their best chance and the match against India on Sunday was a great example of that — when they were under pressure to remain in the tournament, they played the way they always do."

England came into this tournament as the top-ranked ODI side but after losing to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, there were lot of questions raised over their approach. Morgan's men, however, bounced back in brilliant style and defeated India to keep themselves in the race.

England will not take on New Zealand on Wednesday and the winner of this game will confirm their spot in the semifinals, while the loser will have to rely on other results. McCullum said that the Black Caps are playing with a sense of humility and are lacking a bit of swagger.

"New Zealand are close to where they need to be but they’re playing with a sense of humility when they need to rediscover their panache. They’re lacking a bit of swagger. There’s plenty of people in that line-up capable of playing with swagger.

"They need to include (quick bowler) Tim Southee, who is a big player from a leadership point of view, and someone who brings confidence to the environment. I would love to see that come out, for them to take on games a little more than they have been. The other day, for instance, they allowed Australia’s fast bowlers to bowl short at them. We didn’t see anyone really take it on.

"When they had Australia 92 for five, they could maybe have gone back to Trent Boult, our main strike weapon. If they’re serious about going deep in this tournament, they need to free themselves up and England could be the perfect opposition for that to happen. It may just remind them how they play their best cricket, because they will be faced with a team with an expressive gameplan.

"England and New Zealand are similar teams. There are different pockets of power in both and it’s about how you use that power — whether, when you have the game in the grasp of your hand, you are able to reinforce it.

"If you go through the personnel, the more aggressive style suits both. There are a couple of players — Joe Root and Kane Williamson — who lock in to allow the aggression of other guys to come out, but they are also at their best when they have freewheeling players around them."

McCullum is a Kiwi by heart but he won't mind if England manage to topple them.

"I am really excited for this match. I will be barracking for New Zealand but if they play at top-class and England are good enough to stand up to them and perform, then I’ll be OK with that too."

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Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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