HomeCricketEngland's Bazball Approach in Test cricket and its consequences

England’s Bazball Approach in Test cricket and its consequences

South African defeat raised several questions about this approach. Many former cricketers and experts also criticized the insensible hitting in difficult situations

England was forced to stare down the barrel with just one victory in their previous 17 Test matches and losing the Ashes down to 4-0. Considering this state as their lowest point, ECB had to take numerous steps hoping for improvement. Therefore, several steps were taken, including the appointment of Brendon McCullum as head coach and Ben Stokes’ taking over Joe Root as captain. Hence England’s ‘Bazball’ approach, the one widely-spoken change was made in their approach towards red ball cricket.

Also Read: I don’t really like that silly term- England Test coach Brendon McCullum on ‘Bazball’ hype

England’s Bazball approach

With McCullum- Stokes’ duo entered a new and interesting approach on the cricket field. After a lot of reconsideration, a new strategy the “Bazball” strategy was adopted by McCullum- Stokes’ duo in the red ball format. Which has significantly received a lot of attention in cricket sodality.

The Kiwi head coach of England, himself goes by the title “Baz,” inspired the name. Even after retirement, McCullum holds the record of being the leading career scorer in T20Is. Along with, that he is the first and so far only player to have scored two centuries in T20Is. With an impressive total of 2000 runs, McCullum is known for his fiery approach while batting.

The 40-year-old seems to have adopted his attacking yet effective batting approach in his coaching as well. The first-time coach seemingly appears to have a mark on test cricket by introducing his philosophy to the England team.

The seven fundamental principles attached to this new approach are as followed:

  • Being a less reflective environment
  • No negative chat
  • A win-at-all-costs mentality
  • No failure fear
  • Praise, even for the little things
  • Simplicity of the message
  • Embracing mental freedom and fun

Acceptance by the Team Members

Under Ben Stokes’ captaincy, the English team has enthusiastically embraced each of these ideas. Which reflects in their performance as well.

Let’s take a look at different statements made by the members of the English team and dredge their opinion on the same:

James Anderson on McCullum's Bazball approach

You go to bed in a completely different mindset,” said veteran English fast-bowler James Anderson. He further adds, “There’s been a good vibe. I have enjoyed the positivity… . That belief can go such a long way especially with the young players we have got. Trying to develop their confidence and experience, that will do wonders for them.

Another senior English bowler Stuart Broad praises the new coach and the positivity in the team. As he comments, “McCullum looks like a guy who has a cricket brain that is working all the time, he’s thinking how we can change the game.

Stuart Broad

Broad also shares an instance to back his statement: “This is no dig but at tea (in the Test against New Zealand), when we were four down with the game in the balance slightly, I’ve certainly been in changing rooms in the past where that would be shut up shop time. Baz’s team talk was very much ‘let’s attack the danger; let’s run towards the danger’ so every part of your mind is about going for this win. I don’t think he’s spoken particularly deeply, his whole mantra is about enjoyment and fun. The energy is: How good’s Test cricket? How good’s this ground? What can we get out of today?”

The Captain’s take on England’s Bazball Approach

We want to create a Test cricket legacy” Ben Stokes. Since the English captain himself is known for his aggressive and positive approach, regardless of the format. We can’t even imagine how happy he would be with a head coach with a similar mindset to McCullum.

Bazball Approach: Stokes- McCullum duo

Stokes in an interview states, “The first chat with Baz [McCullum] was: ‘Yeah we can do it this way – why not?’[about having players assemble just 30 minutes before start instead of lengthy warm-ups]. As long as everyone goes out there at 11am – or 10.30am this last game – and is comfortable in knowing that their preparation has been done in the way they want as individuals to go out and perform, then why wouldn’t you do it like that?”

Stokes: “The warmup thing was me saying”

“I think a better word is positive. Looking at every situation we are going to find ourselves in and always looking at what the positive thing to do is. For example [on day four at Edgbaston] we renamed what nightwatchman is all about. We called it ‘Nighthawk’. That was Broady. He was going out with half an hour left to play to try to literally slog. That’s where we are at the moment: it’s awesome.

“Why are we going to warmup when we’re batting? What is the point of doing a few run-throughs to go up and sit in my training kit again? It has taken away all the external pressures that playing international sport gives you.

“We want to create a legacy of Test cricket. We have done that in white-ball cricket and we have seen other teams follow in those footsteps.”

Also Read: South Africa captain Dean Elgar shoots warning, says Bazball will leave England with ‘egg on their faces’

Effects and consequences of the new approach

The 3-0 series win over New Zealand as well as the victory in the last and only test played between India, are quite tell the story itself. The way England played their cricket was on a different planet to the one we saw earlier. Especially, the surrender to Australia in the Ashes.

Bazball Approach: Joe Root striking the ball in a test match

The more competitive approach, the ‘Bazball’ approach, revolved around England’s condition under the leadership of McCullum. Bairstow’s brutal 136 off just 92 balls, had helped England score 160 in just over an hour to win the test against New Zealand. Root scored 396 at an average of 99 including two centuries. He also made a few viral highlights by playing some outrageous T20 reverse flick shots that you would have never seen him play.

The era of ‘Bazball’ is here” said England’s veteran player Sam Drury.

While the South African defeat raised several questions about this approach. Many former cricketers and experts also criticized the insensible hitting in difficult situations. McCullum claims that there were no loopholes in England’s strategy and the South African team just out-played them in that test. Despite the defeat at the Lord’s, England would like to stick to their Bazball approach because it might happen eventually.

Thank you for reading. Leave a comment if you liked it.

Also Read: Kagiso Rabada becomes 5th fastest pace bowler to take 250 wickets

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Prachi Rajan
Prachi Rajanhttp://thesportslite.com
A literature nerd excelling at cricket who also wants you to look at the world with her eyes so that you could witness the beauty her eyes behold.

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