What is Bazball? Know all about England’s aggressive brand of cricket

England’s approach in tests was revolutionized after the appointment of Brendon McCullum as head coach and Ben Stokes as captain, introducing the cricketing world to ‘Bazball.’

What is Bazball? Know all about England’s aggressive brand of cricket

Ben Stokes (L) with Brendon McCullum (R) Source: The Guardian

Much like his own batting, the arrival of Brendon McCullum in the English set-up has surely influenced their approach to one that is fearless, more attacking and risk-taking, famously coined, as Bazball.

This off-the-field Stokes-McCullum partnership has given England’s batting a lethal twist with the team going all out to get a match result and removing the ‘fear of failure’ from the minds of their players.

So if Test cricket is to not just to sustain but thrive it needs England playing an attractive brand of cricket which is competitive with Australia, India and New Zealand. If we are able to get back where we should be at the top of the pile and playing a brand of cricket which appeals to the next generation hopefully we will get to the stage where young kids want to play Test cricket rather than just the short versions,” England’s head coach Brendon McCullum had said on bringing a new approach to the English set-up.

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What is Bazball all about?

Stokes and Bairstow 1
Ben Stokes (L) and Jonny Bairstow (R) after a thumping win against New Zealand. Source: Shropshire Star

The term Bazball can be dated back to June last year, during an England-New Zealand test match. Hosts England required 299 runs in the final three sessions and the match seemed to be moving towards a draw until Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes arrived at the scene, at 93/4. Bairstow’s 136 off just 92 balls and Ben Stokes’ 75 off 70 left the Kiwi bowlers clueless. The pair led England to a win in just 50 overs.

Bazball is the team’s fearless approach, inspired by the name and batting of head coach Brendon McCullum (who was nicknamed Baz). The team’s focus has shifted from defence to attack. The bowlers have started expressing themselves with much more freedom, bowling attacking lines without having to maintain an economy rate. The batters have shifted from the back foot to the front foot, playing more attacking shots and opting out of continuous defensive play.

Has Bazball been successful?

Rawalpindi Test Day 1
Scenes from day 1 of the Rawalpindi Test. Source: The Indian Express

You bet it has! Bazball has done wonders for the team and taken the world by storm. Bedazzling the audience with their performance and leaving their opponents stunned, England have won 11 of their last 13 Test matches as compared to one win in 17 tests before the Stokes-McCullum duo took over.

England’s batting strike rate in Tests under Brendon McCullum is an astounding 76.84. The new style of batting has seen centuries galore and broken numerous records. England became the only team to complete more than three 250+ run chases in a calendar year, doing so in the span of just five weeks! Since 1st June 2022, England has been scoring at a run rate of more than 4.6.

One of the most incredible displays of Bazball came against Pakistan in Rawalpindi when the English batters went berserk in a record-breaking performance. 506 runs were scored on day 1 for the loss of just 4 wickets, including four centuries from Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook. England scored at a run rate of 6.5 in the first innings and 7.36 in the second.

England’s bazball approach has gone beyond their batting, extending to their bowling and the captaincy with smart calls and swift decisions working in their favour. Day 1 of the ongoing first Ashes test saw another dominant batting display with England scoring 393/8 courtesy of Joe Root’s 30th test century and declaring on the same day. It will be interesting to see how things unravel for Bazball-powered England in this ashes this year against the recently crowned WTC champions Australia.

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