Rob Key has told England red-ball fans to "buckle up and get ready for the ride" after appointing Brendon McCullum as the new head coach of the men's Test team.
The managing director of England men's cricket's second major decision since taking the job at the ECB - following the appointment of Ben Stokes as captain - was to plump for 40-year-old New Zealander McCullum as the man to lead a recovery after several years of decline in the standards and results of the English Test side.
McCullum, who will arrive in the UK ahead of the first Test of the summer - against the country of his birth, is a surprising and bold choice.
The former wicketkeeper-batsman has no first-class coaching experience, with his two lead roles since hanging up his gloves and bat coming with Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Brendon McCullum is the new England men's Test head coach [Getty Images]
However, Key has been convinced that McCullum is the right person to instigate change.
"It has been a real privilege to get to know him and understand his views and vision for the game. I believe his appointment will be good for England's Test team," he said.
"He has a recent history of changing cricket culture and environments for the better, and I believe he is the person to do that for England's red-ball cricket."
Simon Katich, the former Australia international, and the former India national team coach Gary Kirsten were among the candidates for the position.
"We were incredibly fortunate to have a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post, with Brendon demonstrating he was our No.1 choice"
McCullum emerged as the leading applicant, however, following interviews on Monday and Tuesday this week (May 10 and 11).
He is understood to have agreed a four-year contract with the ECB.
"We were incredibly fortunate to have a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post, with Brendon demonstrating he was our No.1 choice," Key said.
McCullum's appointment is the first major decision by Rob Key [Getty Images]
"I believe in Brendon and Ben Stokes - a formidable coach and captain partnership. Time for us all to buckle up and get ready for the ride."
McCullum is currently in India with Kolkata Knight Riders but will fly directly to the UK at the end of the franchise's campaign.
He will take charge ahead of the Lord's Test against the Blackcaps, which is scheduled to get under way from Thursday, June 2.
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