Ian Botham credits England’s Bazball style for bringing crowds back to Test cricket

February 7, 2024
Sir Ian Botham has credited the side's Bazball style of playing resulting in bringing crowds back to Test cricket.

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Legendary England fast-bowling all-rounder Sir Ian Botham has credited the side’s Bazball style of playing resulting in bringing crowds back to Test cricket.

Since Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes’ were appointed as head coach and captain of England, the team has adopted a fearless and uber-attacking style of playing the game dubbed as ‘Bazball’.

England have won 15 out of 24 Tests they have played since the McCullum-Stokes regime began, including winning the Hyderabad Test against India by 28 runs despite conceding a 190-run lead. Though they lost the second Test at Visakhapatnam by 106 runs, their Bazball approach meant England didn’t go down without fighting hard.

“You just have to look at the crowds. The crowds are now starting to come back to Test cricket. Playing against India 20-30 years ago in India, the grounds were heaving. Suddenly, the IPL came along and so did one-day cricket and the crowds then plummeted. People are now coming back and wanting to see (Bazball).

“You are entertainers at the end of the day and if you want people to come to the games, you have to entertain. They don’t want to see someone score 1.2 runs per hour, you want to see guys just boss the game. You are going to lose one or two games here or there but England have played 15 and won 12. England sells out games across all five days now which was just unheard of. Test cricket is now healthier than it has been for a long time,” said Botham on SEN Radio.

England are currently tied 1-1 in a five-match Test series against India, with the third game to begin on February 15 in Rajkot. Botham, who captained England for 12 Tests, continued to heap praise on ‘Bazball’ by suggesting that other nations are starting to adopt the aggressive way of playing Test cricket.

“I think it’s rubbed off (onto other teams). Quite often, you see sides who are three or four wickets down and (the bowling team) seem to relax. When you’ve got your foot on the throat, you have got to keep it there and do the job. Test cricket has become more impressive which I think is important,” he concluded.



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