London: Former New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum, who is currently head coach of IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders, has emerged as the favourite to become the new England Test team coach, a report in said on Wednesday.

The report added that the 40-year-old could be announced as the red-ball coach before the end of this week.

“The 40-year-old could form a dream team partnership with (new England Test skipper) Ben Stokes, as the two men have similar positive outlooks on the game and how to take it forward,” said the report.

Initially, after Chris Silverwood stepped down as England’s chief coach in the wake of the Ashes debacle, South African opener Gary Kirsten had reportedly emerged as the front-runner for the Test job, while McCullum’s name was mentioned as a possible white-ball coach because of his limited-overs credentials as a player, and his coaching experience with Kolkata Knight Riders.

But the New Zealander’s Test credentials were overlooked at that time. McCullum has played 101 Tests, captaining New Zealand on 31 occasions.

The report added that it would be the perfect time for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to announce McCullum’s appointment as coach, given that New Zealand are set to begin their tour of England with the opening Test scheduled at Lord’s from June 2.