England to give Anderson and Broad Ashes swansong

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“It’s been a lot of fun. You’ve got high expectations in terms of results, but you’ve got to find a way to take results out of play when you set about the summer.

“I was surprised how good we’ve been. I knew there was a lot of talent in English cricket. I didn’t realise it was this much and the guys were as good as what they are.”

England have flourished under captain Ben Stokes (left) and coach Brendon McCullum less than a year out from the Ashes.

England have flourished under captain Ben Stokes (left) and coach Brendon McCullum less than a year out from the Ashes.Credit:Getty

McCullum said that he always had high expectations of Stokes as a captain, but that he had surpassed them after working together this summer.

“With Stokesy, I thought he’d be good as a leader, but I didn’t realise he’d be quite as good as what he is. You put all those elements into the pot, and you play against good opposition and still find a way to succeed, you look back on the summer and say that was pretty good fun.

“His own game is phenomenal, his leadership qualities are amazing and he runs through brick walls for the side, as we’ve seen with some of his bowling spells.

“He’s not just been able to deliver a message but allowed the message to go across the entire group, and do it comfortably in a short period of time.”

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Ahead of his return home to New Zealand for two months, before meeting up with England in Abu Dhabi at their training camp for the Test series in Pakistan in December, McCullum urged his players to enjoy their achievements this summer.

“These summers don’t come around often, and these memories don’t get created easily,” he said. “So, allow that to simmer away. That will allow us, when we come across opposition away and conditions are different, to be able to call on some of those fond memories.

“Obviously, you’ve got to be able to do things differently in different conditions, but for now let’s enjoy what we’ve been able to achieve.

“My job is to ensure that we’re always reminding ourselves that this job is meant to be the greatest time of our life, being a cricketer at the highest level and trying to create memories that you look back over in time. That’s the results, but it’s also the fun and the camaraderie that you build up.”

Telegraph, London

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