Kevin Pietersen reacts to Brendon McCullum appointment and Jofra Archer blow

Kevin Pietersen says he is ‘delighted’ by Brendon McCullum’s appointment as England Test coach and has backed the New Zealand hero to improve the side along with with new captain Ben Stokes.

Former Black Caps skipper McCullum signed a four-year deal to take over England’s red-ball side last week and will be in place for next month’s Test series against world champions New Zealand.

McCullum, who played 101 Tests for the Kiwis, replaces Yorkshireman Chris Silverwood, who was sacked in the aftermath of England’s heavy Ashes defeat in Australia.

‘I’m delighted with the appointment of Brendon McCullum,’ Pietersen told Betway. ‘It’s a very interesting choice as England’s Test coach.

‘I think his brand of cricket is one that will be along the same lines as what Rob Key and Ben Stokes want. It’s also what the paying public want to watch.

‘Something needed to change, and this is positive change. England will now have lots of discipline, but also be encouraged to play naturally. Don’t be scared, don’t be timid, go out and do your thing.’

McCullum has never coached in first-class cricket but has quickly established himself as one of the most highly-rated white-ball coaches in the world since retiring, leaving a role with Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders to join England.

The 40-year-old is taking over an England side who have only won one of their last 17 Tests and are currently ranked sixth in the ICC Test rankings.

McCullum and Stokes named their first England squad earlier this week, recalling James Anderson and Stuart Broad after they both missed the West Indies tour in March and calling up Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham bowler Matthew Potts.

Pietersen added: ‘McCullum isn’t scarred by England’s recent failures. He only knows positivity, and he’s only known success as a leader of a Test team after his time as captain of New Zealand.

‘The selection of Harry Brook in the Test squad follows his blueprint. I said that Brook should be in the Test squad when I saw him play in The Hundred last summer. He is a natural talent, and has to be backed.

‘Even though the rest of the squad is quite similar, hopefully McCullum and Stokes can get them playing better cricket.

‘I don’t believe that these aren’t the best players in England, I just think that the standard of players coming out of the county game is poor. Hopefully McCullum can get more out of them.’

McCullum would have been hoping to work with fast bowler Jofra Archer at some point this summer but the Sussex star has suffered a major injury setback after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the lower back.

The 27-year-old will now miss the entire summer and the T20 World Cup at the end of the year, with the ECB unable to provided a timeframe on his anticipated return.

On Archer’s injury blow, Pietersen said: ‘It’s terrible news for poor Jofra that he’ll miss the whole summer. I’m devastated for him.

‘He’s shown moments of brilliance for England and other teams and it’s just a horrible blow for him.

‘It’s difficult to imagine him recovering from this to play long-form cricket again, that’s the horrible reality. Hopefully he can still carve out a top-level white-ball career.

‘His stress fracture to the back follows a pattern of these injuries being sustained by England bowlers.

‘I do think that the number of sports scientists can complicate things far too much. When I was playing, fast bowlers used to bowl a lot of overs in the nets and got bowling fit.

‘They went through the hard yards in their preparation and weren’t molly-coddled in between games. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and all the other greats weren’t told how many balls they could bowl by a sports scientist every day. They knew their bodies and got properly fit.

‘It feels now like England’s fast bowlers can’t cope with tough, long days with the ball because they’re not used to it.’

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