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England v New Zealand

Watch: Stokes points to McCullum in celebration after Tom Blundell falls into perfectly executed short ball trap

Watch: Stokes Points To McCullum In Celebration After England Take Key Wicket With Perfectly Executed Plan
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: A fielding position and bowling plan straight out of the Brendon McCullum playbook allowed England to take the wicket of New Zealand’s Tom Blundell at Trent Bridge, with Ben Stokes immediately signalling that his new head coach deserved the credit.

Blundell has been one of New Zealand’s best batters in the series so far, with his partnerships with Daryl Mitchell regularly holding up England’s progress. So it counted as a considerable success when he was dismissed for 24, leaving the Black Caps wobbling at 176-5.

His wicket came in somewhat loose fashion, with a Stuart Broad bouncer hit straight to Stokes at backward square leg. However, it was clearly part of a pre-arranged plan, with Stokes and Broad both pointing up towards the dressing room after the catch was taken.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain, on Sky commentary, speculated about McCullum’s influence. “I’m wondering if there was any Kiwi input from the backroom staff,” he said, “because they’ve gone at Mitchell a lot with the short ball, they haven’t gone at Blundell that much. Maybe it was just having a fielder there that they haven’t had in the past, because he’s usually played that well. Immediately Stokes went to the dressing room.”

Footage later showed McCullum smiling, nodding and giving Stokes a thumbs up in response to Stokes pointing at him. The plan had worked to perfection.

Watch the Stokes-McCullum plan outfox Blundell below:

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