See why I believe England’s ‘Bazball’ style of cricket doesn’t work

The England players and British press have built this so called new style of cricket up to be the best thing since sliced bread.

But in my opinion, it’s extremely flawed and has completely ruined one of the best batsmen in the world. 

Why ‘Bazball’ doesn’t work

Now I’m not saying I’m completely against ‘Bazball’ – I actually quite like what McCullum and Ben Stokes as England captain are trying to do with the team and the brand of test cricket they are trying to play (as much as it pains me to say as an Aussie).

Oxford Mail: Brendon McCullum now faces arguably the biggest test of coaching career as England enter the fourth test against India.Brendon McCullum now faces arguably the biggest test of coaching career as England enter the fourth test against India. (Image: PA)

But ‘Bazball in its current state doesn’t work and the England players have become so arrogant about how good this “new” style of cricket is they can’t, or won’t, see it.

You only need to look back to their last test against India in Rajkot to see why it doesn’t work.

India absolutely demolished England by 434 runs in the third test to take a 2-1 series lead.

Yes, England and ‘Bazball’ won the first test, but since then it has been pretty much one way traffic in India’s favour and that’s against a side that isn’t at full strength – missing the likes of Virat Kohli.

The main fault with ‘Bazball’ I believe is that all the players just seem to want to hit every ball for four or six.

While that’s entertaining and can be effective in certain conditions, it doesn’t always work especially in places like India.

This attacking style of cricket is also not new and hasn’t been invented by the current England side despite what most English fans, media and players think.

Ben Duckett in an interview during the third test after a blistering innings from young Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal said he felt “we (England) should take some credit” for him playing attacking cricket. 

No Ben, it’s got nothing to do with ‘Bazball’ – if anything it’s T20 cricket and how big the IPL has become in India.

Plus history is also full of attacking cricketers.

You look back at the likes of Matthew Hayden, Virender Sehwag or more recently David Warner – all aggressive batsmen. 

But the difference is they had gears they could work through and would pick the right time to be aggressive. 

Ollie Pope scored a fantastic 196 in the second innings of the first test against India in Hyderabad which set up England’s victory.

But you look at how many deliveries he faced – 278. He was watchful and played every ball on its merits, and waited for the bad ball to put away.

Now look at the star of the series so far Jaiswal. 

The 22-year-old has made two double hundreds in the series to date, one in the second test in Visakhapatnam and another in the third.

His first came off 290 balls while the second in the most recent test came off 236. 

You may say well hang on, his second double century was nearly a run a ball.

Yes, that’s true, but he played himself in, and attacked at the right time, when India already had a solid lead, had wickets in hand and the England bowlers had started to tire.

In contrast, let’s look at England’s second innings of the third test in Rajkot.

The side boasted they could use their ‘Bazball’ style to chase down targets as big as 600, which is lucky because they needed 556 to win.

They fell just short – 434 runs short to be exact – being bowled out for 122.

Oxford Mail: England lost the third test to India by a massive 434 runs.England lost the third test to India by a massive 434 runs. (Image: PA)

Now they were 4/28 at one stage, you can’t be all out attack when your side is in trouble like that. 

But yet even at 6/50 you still had blokes like Rehan Ahmed hauling out on the boundary off just his fifth ball. 

To me that’s just dumb cricket and sums up how stupid ‘Bazball’ really is.

‘Bazball’ had a good start with 4-0 and 2-1 series wins at home against New Zealand and South Africa respectively before a 3-0 win away to Pakistan.

But the past 12 months against stronger opposition, it hasn’t gone as well.

Despite glimpses of ‘Bazball’ working during the Ashes they could still only manage a 2-2 draw against the number one test nation – Australia.

And the current India series they trail 2-1 and I think it could quite easily finish 4-1 if they don’t adapt in challenging conditions.

McCullum now faces his first real challenge as England test coach as his side heads into the fourth test in Ranchi.

‘Bazball’ has ruined Joe Root

The other problem with “Bazball” is it has ruined one of the best batsmen in the world – Joe Root. 

The former England captain will go down in history as one of the game’s best test players boasting (at the time of publication) 11,493 test runs at an average of 49.32 with 30 centuries and 60 half centuries.

But since ‘Bazball’ has been introduced he has gone away from the patient style of cricket that has seen him be so successful over the years and jumped on the bandwagon of this bash and crash style of cricket. 

This change in style is no more evident than when he reverse scooped Pat Cummins first ball of the day during the first Ashes test. 

But while it worked then, it hasn’t recently.

During the Indian series, England have needed a rock in the middle order to support the aggressive style of batting the rest of the line up provides and Root is the perfect man for that role. 

But for whatever reason he has brought fully into the “Bazball” madness and has been nowhere near his best this series with just 77 runs at an average of 12.83.

And it’s not as though he has been unlucky and has been getting good balls, he’s been getting himself out and in some horrendous ways – none more so than the reverse lap (or whatever it was) in the third test that went straight to slip.

So Joe, if you’re reading this, just go back to your old ways mate, bin off this ‘Bazball’ craziness.


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India v England – when is the 4th test?

England will get a chance to redeem themselves and their “Bazball” style of cricket in the fourth test against India at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi. 

The fourth test starts on Friday (February 23) at 4am BST.

You can watch the game live on TNT Sports via the discovery+ app.

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