On Thursday, McCullum, the former New Zealand captain who has worked majorly as a white-ball coach in T20 franchise cricket, was handed the job of England's Test coach. His first assignment will be England's three-match home Test against New Zealand, the current World Test Championship (WTC) winners, in June.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes the third Ashes Test, which will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), would put the tourists’ mental toughness to the test. He also stated that dividing the England camp into batters and bowlers or players and coaches would be detrimental.
England is 2-0 down in the five-match series after losing the first and second Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide by nine wickets and 275 runs, respectively.
“Now it’s all about England’s mental fortitude. They are 2-0 down and will be playing in one of the MCG’s famous cricket coliseums. They’ll realise now, with the increased pressure on Joe Root on and off the pitch, that the entire country is against them “Hussain wrote about it in his Daily Mail column on Friday.
Hussain also warned England not to split up in the middle of a crucial series. “What I don’t want to see in the England camp is a mood of hitters vs. bowlers or players vs. coaches. ‘Why are we sitting in the dressing room being shown footage of our dismissals?’ the batters must not think. That is not something you should do. Instead, think to yourself, “We are a team, we are England, and we will remain together.” We’re going to put on a show for them at the MCG.”
The 53-year-old has advised Joe Root and his teammates to use on-field moves to release all of the camp’s emotions.
“They should use their rage, violence, and even calmness on the field because Australia loves to see divisions within the England team. The players will also be aware that, no matter how hard they try to deny it, people in England are saying, ‘Here we go again, it’ll be 4-0 or 5-0.'”
“However, they will be far better off if they ignore all of it and instead focus on the task at hand. History suggests that England’s chances of winning or even drawing this Ashes series are slim, but I’m hoping to witness a lot of grit, determination, and character – as well as a lot of runs!”
Hussain concluded by stating that the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne will provide England with an excellent platform to turn things around in the Ashes series.
“I know I keep saying it, but Australia is a great environment to bat. I’ll excuse England’s struggles in India on those spinning pitches, but these have been quite good surfaces thus far, as Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, and David Warner have all demonstrated. There is no greater place for England to reclaim its prestige than the MCG.”