Cricket: Brendon McCullum winning the battle against former teammates as England outclass Blackcaps

It shouldn't come as a surprise, but England test coach Brendon McCullum's knowledge of his former teammates is coming up trumps in the current series against the Blackcaps.

Up 1-0 in the best of two series, England head to Wellington as heavy favourites after a huge win at Mt Maunganui, as the Blackcaps' six-year unbeaten home test run appears under threat.

Helping their cause is the fact that McCullum knows the Blackcaps' key men better than any other coach in test cricket.

After a career spanning more than 14 years as an international cricketer, including three as the Blackcaps' captain, McCullum has shared a changing room with current skipper Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls and Neil Wagner.

Blackcaps captain Tim Southee and Brendon McCullum.
Blackcaps captain Tim Southee and Brendon McCullum. Photo credit: Photosport

Coincidentally or otherwise, all of McCullum's former teammates struggled in the series' opening test.

Wagner in particular bore the brunt of McCullum's influence, and was targeted by England in the second innings, where he conceded 110 runs at more than eight an over.

Of the batters to have played alongside McCullum, none passed 20 across both innings, with Latham (1 and 15), Williamson (6 and 0) and Nicholls (4 and 7) all out cheaply, twice.

On the other hand, none of the Blackcaps players who performed admirably - Devon Conway, Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell - shared a dressing room with McCullum as captain. 

Across four tests against the Blackcaps, three at home and one away, McCullum's England are yet to taste defeat, with four straight wins for good measure.

But while England's overall success under McCullum and captain Ben Stokes - who've won 10 of 11 tests together - isn't solely down to what and who their coach knows, it certainly helps.

"The one thing that obviously Baz does bring is knowledge about certain players that we might not be able to get from footage that we're able to view," Stokes said.

"I guess those little things that you don't get from footage of players is always a big help.

"Certainly, [last English] summer when we played New Zealand, there was a few things that Baz was able to give us information on some of their batters.

"It was obviously a big help."

England are looking for their fifth straight win against the Blackcaps, taking their 2022 home series 3-0 before last week's win at Bay Oval.

The Blackcaps on the other hand are out to end a streak of seven tests without victory, losing five and drawing two in that time.