England coach and Black Caps great Brendon McCullum talks to Andrew Alderson about the new Baz-ball era, sustaining an aggressive approach to the test format, his assessment of Ben Stokes as captain and advice he would give the New Zealand side following a 3-0 series defeat.
Is this approach to the test game sustainable?
Look at the talent in our dressing room, they are certainly capable of playing like that. You'll be criticised at times, it won't always work, but it gives this team the most satisfaction, and this is how some of the individuals in the group will bring out their best. It's fun, too.
Can you take Baz-ball too far?
I hope we take it too far, then we'll know where that line is. Until you do that, you're not sure. I think we've seen it with the England white-ball team. There have been times where they've pushed too hard and then they know. I think it'll probably be the same with us.
We've got to keep exploring that, and not just with the batting. Look at how we've fielded and bowled as well. Some of the field placements by the skipper and the mentality of the guys was to chase wickets.
One example was the Daryl Mitchell/Tom Blundell partnership developing [at Headingley on the fourth day]. Sometimes there might have been unease about that in the past, given the total was building, but we kept attacking and bowlers tried to work towards a mode of dismissal. That's how this team wants to play.
What's your initial assessment of Ben Stokes as a leader?
I thought he'd be good and I think the timing is perfect. It's early days but he's exceeded my expectations. I'm aggressive but he's got me covered, which is saying something.
I'll give you an example. We needed 296 off 47 overs [to complete the fourth day] and his message to the group was 'let's knock this off tonight'. We obviously didn't do that, but it was the mentality and his message freed the guys up to say we're chasing a win, don't put any restrictions on yourself, just take the game on.
His messaging has been consistent and articulate. He doesn't speak all the time but when he does, it's bang on. When we're fielding he's constantly making plays which means we're in control, regardless of what the scoreboard says. Then when he's batting he's pushing the envelope which sends a message to our dressing room and others around the world.
Can this filter through county championship cricket?
We can't impose any of that on them because they've got things they want to achieve. If we can build this and have success, young players will take notice and say they'd probably like to play like that.
Did you find watching the likes of Bruce Edgar dull, for argument's sake, when you were growing up? Is there a place for a traditional opening batter these days?
First of all, Bootsie's a wonderful human being and did a fabulous job for New Zealand Cricket and now Wellington, as well as when he was playing internationally.
He's a good bloke and his style of play was exactly what was needed for that time. Those types of player will still be successful in some teams, but I'm comfortable with the players we've got.
What advice would you give the New Zealand team?
I thought they played well, barring the top four with the bat who were disappointing, but we need to remember that from our point of view, too.
It was tough to bat at the top of the order for both sides. Mitchell and Blundell were exceptional, the bowlers were good and they fielded as well as they always do. They were in all three contests and played their part in the series. With Kane Williamson as captain and a support act like Tim Southee they won't panic. I'm sure the message will be 'all is not lost'.
Are the skills between white ball and red ball converging again?
Hopefully, because that's a good problem to have. Some guys are growing their games. It will be a good conversation to have between Motty [new white ball coach Matthew Mott] and myself and the two skippers to work out which players go where because schedules are getting congested.
Is playing cricket in an exciting manner and selling it to a new audience more important than being number one in the world?
We want to be number one, winning the Ashes, beating top teams consistently and winning the world test championship. But that's the end goal. What we actually need is to enjoy the moment and understand what we achieved in the first three weeks for a team that was somewhat struggling.
We need to work out how we embraced the difference in style and keep building on that because there will be tough times and we must be strong about the direction we're heading.
We need to bank the good times, because we can't be successful every time, but you don't want to throw all the good work out to fix one bad performance.
The world test champions are formidable opposition which we overcame and now the alarm bells have probably gone off about how this team is going to play.
We must make sure we're well-researched, well-planned and well-prepared to roll out a similar kind of performance against a different opposition [on Friday against India at Edgbaston]. In the meantime, let's just enjoy the moment. It's exciting.
Looking at the players who have been recycled through over last couple of players, why didn't they find this solution sooner?
Timing's important. In taking over this job there was a thirst for change. If performances have been somewhat underwhelming then people are more receptive.
That's why we freshened some of the ideas and stripped out some of the noise to get the guys playing the game for the game's sake rather than the other stuff that goes with it.
Yes, you've got obligations and responsibilities but just enjoy playing with your mates and understand you've got a finite period as an international cricketer. Try to enjoy it rather than being paralysed by fear and failure. That's all we've really tried to do.
The skipper's taking them on a journey and I've tried to fill gaps where they were needed.
They've had instant gratification for that change, which doesn't always happen, but the guys were so keen on this style of play.
You're not tempted to get back out there?
No, not at all. I had a great time and that's why I'm so strong on the messaging that these guys should enjoy themselves. Do that successfully and you build camaraderie. It's a magic place to be. Then you leave the game content.