"It’s amazing what can happen when the coach and captain remove the fear of failure" - Nasser Hussain
Former England captain Nasser Hussain credited Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum for removing the fear of failure from the current Test side. Hussain's observations came after England's stupendous batting performance against Pakistan on the opening day of the first Test.
England went hammer and tongs against Pakistan's bowlers on a lifeless Rawalpindi surface.
The tourists scored at a staggering 6.74 runs per over to end Day 1 with 506-4 as four English batters scored centuries.
In his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain recalled him being fearful during his playing days but felt great to watch the current crop of players having fun in the middle. He wrote:
"I was a fearful cricketer, focused on survival at all costs. These guys just want to go out and have fun. It’s great to watch. What has changed is the mindset and the intent. As we’re seeing on a regular basis now, it’s amazing what can happen when the coach and captain remove the fear of failure. It's the scenario sportsmen dream about."
England, who broke the record for scoring the most runs on Day 1 of the Test, had an opening partnership worth 233. All four centurions - Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, and Harry Brook - also maintained a strike rate of over 100.
"He was all over the leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood" - Nasser Hussain on Ben Duckett
Hussain was also relieved with Duckett proving his quality against spin after remembering his struggles against Ravichandran Ashwin in 2016.
He observed how the left-hander picked apart Zahid Mahmood, adding:
"I always felt Duckett was unfairly pigeon-holed after his first stint in Test cricket, when people said he was a poor player of spin. That wasn’t true. He was sorted out by one spinner, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin, who has a superb record against left-handers in home conditions.
"Against the spinners, he’s a nightmare for the opposition captain, as Stokes mentioned before the game, because he has a full repertoire of sweeps which means it’s almost impossible to set a field for him. He was all over the leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood until he finally missed one."
With six wickets in hand, England are likely to go even harder on Day 2 against Pakistan.