The Ashes: England head coach Brendon McCullum looks forward to rematch of the ‘great heavyweight fight’ | Cricket News

After England drew with Australia in a thrilling Ashes series, head coach Brendon McCullum is already looking ahead to a rematch of the “great heavyweight fight”.

The series concluded with an exciting final day at The Oval, where Chris Woakes and the now-retired pair of Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad sealed a 49-run win and maintain England’s year-long undefeated streak in Test series under New Zealand’s McCullum.

“Both teams walk away with two victories under their belt. I think both sides have stayed true to their styles and that’s what makes a great heavyweight fight. It’s two different styles and total conviction in them,” McCullum said.

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“The skipper [Ben Stokes was] thinking would we be able to take on a great Australian team – and they are a great Australian team – and go toe-to-toe with them? I think the answer is yes and that’s a tremendous confidence booster for the group.”

Australia came into the Ashes as newly-crowned Test world champions and provided the stiffest challenge yet of the ‘Bazball’ style of play.

“I’ve looked from afar at the Ashes and to now be a part of it and witness how special it is is something quite incredible. I don’t want it to end actually,” said McCullum.

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“I think we should go round again and have another five Tests, keep doing what we’re doing. It’s been an incredible six weeks and I’m really proud to be sharing a dressing room with the England boys.”

McCullum is casting his eyes towards a rematch that lies two-and-a-half years away.

“The next one is obviously a little way away and there’s certainly different challenges to cross before then. If we look at the growth of the team in the last 14-15 months it has been quite significant,” he said.

“There will be some new faces for both sides in two-and-a-half years, no doubt, but I’d imagine again it could be another cracking series when the time comes. But firstly we’re letting this one sink in and enjoying it.”

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Watch quick-fire highlights from day five of the fifth Ashes as the retiring Stuart Broad bowled England to victory over Australia

England do not play Test cricket again until January’s trip to India but McCullum already has two holes to fill, with Broad and Moeen bowing out on a high.

“Two incredible cricketers but also wonderful people and great characters in the dressing room,” he said.

“We’ll miss them, no doubt, but they have left a huge imprint on the side. It’s been great to have them around and I’m sure their legacies will carry on to the next generation.”

Word has already been passed around the county circuit that England want to see Test hopefuls put their names forward by playing the same kind of fearless, selfless cricket McCullum and Stokes favour and events of the past seven weeks have surely left plenty with an appetite to join them.

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Ben Stokes hopes the thrilling Ashes series has attracted a new audience and boosted the popularity of Test cricket

“I certainly hope so. Naturally, places do come up when guys come to the end of their careers so there will be opportunities there,” he said.

“We’re starting to build some nice depth in batting and bowling as well, so that’s encouraging and will pose some good conversations moving forward.

“What you’re trying to do is not only inspire the next generation but the layer underneath the top team, to have them understand how we’re going to play and work out in their own heads where they fit within that and try to force a place.”

McCullum’s white-ball counterpart, Matthew Mott will take charge of English ambitions in the meantime with this autumn’s 50-over World Cup defence the next major goal.

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Moeen Ali has confirmed his retirement from Test cricket after helping England draw the Ashes series 2-2

“What will be really important for the time India comes will be trying to dial back into what we’ve achieved in the last 14-15 months and trying to make sure the team turns up with the same clarity of thought when we go about things,” the head coach said.

Moving on

The acrimony that featured in the series, especially the second test, has passed now the series is over.

In the second test at Lord’s, Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey dismissed Jonny Bairstow by underarming the ball into the stumps after Bairstow left his crease at the end of an over.

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Take a look back at some of the funniest moments from the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval

The stumping dismissal triggered loud booing from the Lord’s crowd and Australian players were verbally abused by MCC members in the pavilion.

At the time McCullum declared: “I can’t imagine we’ll be having a beer with them any time soon.

“You’ve got to live with the decisions you make.”

But on Monday he left that in the past. “Yeah, we’ll have a beer,” McCullum laughed.

“Ashes series have all these twists and turns and moments which people talk about and are able to remember them by, and that was certainly one of those.”

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