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SportMcCullum happy with England's preparation ahead of India Tests

McCullum happy with England’s preparation ahead of India Tests

Brendon McCullum has defended England’s preparation for the start of the Test series against India.

The first game in a five-match series gets underway in Hyderabad on Thursday with England only arriving in India at the weekend having flown in from a training camp in Abu Dhabi.

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Coach McCullum is confident England won’t be undercooked – or caught out by the conditions – and insisted it was the correct call to warm up in the UAE.

The New Zealander said: “The preparation was brilliant. The facilities out there are as good as anywhere in the world.

“The guys walked away from Abu Dhabi with a huge amount of confidence that we’ve prepared as well as we possibly can.

“In the end all you’re trying to do is get guys in the frame of mind where they feel 10 foot tall and bulletproof when they walk out to play.

“We’ve got to take 20 wickets with the ball in each Test and we’ve got to get one more run than them with the bat. It’s not rocket science but it will be the nuances of the game and when to stick and when to twist which will be the fascinating part.”

As usual, McCullum was eager to talk up England’s front-foot approach, insisting it won’t change against an India side that has lost just three of their last 46 Test matches on home soil.

He added: “What balance we go for in terms of the side we’ll work out in the coming days, but the thing we need to be is really brave with whatever we decide.

“India is the land of opportunity and that’s what sits in front of us now, we’ll take the positive option. Other teams might be better, but we want to be the bravest. We’ve got to do that and that’s got to be factored into selection, too.”

England are likely to have captain Ben Stokes available after knee surgery – although he will play as a batter only – and McCullum is impressed with how fit the Durham man looks.

“He looks like a greyhound. He’s stripping fit,” he said.

“He’s put the hard work in and everyone knows his work ethic is phenomenal. I’ve seen him running around and I think he’s good to go. We’ll obviously make that call as late as what we need to. But he’s put all the work in and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

With Yorkshire’s Harry Brook returning home due to a personal issue, England will have to juggle the balance of their side, although it is likely to contain plenty of spin options while Ben Foakes is set to return as wicketkeeper.

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