'England doesn't need to move away from Bazball approach', opines Nasser Hussain

February 19, 2024
England’s heavy 434-run defeat to India in the third Test at Rajkot, former captain Nasser Hussain has said Ben Stokes & Co need not move away from their Bazball approach
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New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Following England’s heavy 434-run defeat to India in the third Test at Rajkot, former captain Nasser Hussain has said Ben Stokes & Co need not move away from their Bazball approach of playing the game and urged them to do introspection ahead of next two games.

England conceded a 126-run lead to India and were put under the pump in all departments to lose the match by 434 runs inside four days at the Niranjan Shah Stadium. England are now 2-1 behind in the five-match series against India.

“It’s one thing stopping an opponent’s momentum in a home series, and England’s record at home – even against Australia – is superb. In India it isn’t as good. But if they do want things to change, it can’t just be a matter of ‘this is the way we play, we aren’t questioning ourselves’.

“They’ve had 18 months of incredible success and this isn’t the time to move away from their philosophy. It’s a time for introspection. It’s a time for the basics – taking your catches, making big scores in first innings. That is how India have found themselves 2-1 up, with two to play.

“If England don’t consider tweaks, Bazball just becomes a cult that can’t be questioned. I am not asking them to alter their mantra, just to review the last couple of matches and ask themselves: how can we improve?” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.

He further explained how England’s initial errors laid the platform for them to lose the Rajkot Test, while focusing on Joe Root’s miscued reverse-ramp which triggered a first-innings collapse for the visitors. “Joe Root dropped a catch offered by Rohit Sharma at 47 for three that would’ve put a completely different complexion on the game had it stuck.

“England put down several chances, and poor fielding generally allowed India to post 445, but it would have been another story for Sarfaraz Khan on debut had he walked in with India four down on the first morning rather than in the evening at 237 for four.

“Another pivotal moment came with England 224 for two on the third morning when Root played that reverse sweep. Now, I don’t have a problem with him playing that stroke, because it’s one he’s executed very effectively in the past.

“But, when Ravichandran Ashwin is missing, When Ravindra Jadeja is being eased back into cricket by his captain. When Root’s nemesis of recent times in Jasprit Bumrah is playing his third Test in a row amid talk of needing a rest, I would question the timing of it.”

“Bazball is not attack, attack, attack. Occasionally, you must absorb pressure and this was a time to do so, forcing Bumrah into a second spell, making Jadeja bowl more and more. An opportunity for England to make India really miss Ashwin. When the opposition have a bowler down, recognise the opportunity to grind out a score and boss the game, he concluded.

–IANS

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