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Does Bazball have the stamina to change Test Crickets’ groove?




The brand of fearless attacking cricket championed by England Test coach Brendon McCullum has awakened and noticed the world. Can it be sustained and will others follow?

The brand of fearless, attacking cricket championed by England Test coach Brendon McCullum has awakened and noticed the world. Can it be sustained and will others follow?

Is he real?

That, Matt Prior said, was how his team-mates reacted when new coach Andy Flower told them he wanted them to become the first English Test team to be number 1 in the world rankings within two years. It wasn’t long after Ian Botham advised England’s think tank to go to Kingston harbor and sink into the deepest channel. The team had been shot for 51 in the course of a series defeat by the West Indies and scraped the bottom.

England was in the bottom half of the ICC test table at the time. No wonder the players reacted that way when the coach described his goal.

Is he real?

Thirteen years later, English cricketers and their fans may be thinking about the same question, this time about new Test coach Brendon McCullum. He has led just four Tests so far, but England have won them all.

It is the style of those victories that has made the Kiwi the toast of English cricket.

England won the pursuit in all four Tests (against the reigning World Test champion and then runner-up). The four chases were among the 13 highest in England’s 145-year history. The highest came against India in Edgbaston last month.

In the Tests against New Zealand, England scored 279 for five at 3.53 runs one over at Lords, 299 for five at 5.98 at Trent Bridge and 296 for three at 5.44 at Headingley. India posed more of a challenge, but it also went 378 for three to 4.93 with ridiculous ease.


Last year, India, which had to play an almost second-string eleven due to injuries, gave an even more stunning chase against Australia in Brisbane. The visitors made 329 for seven at a rate of 3.39 runs per over to end Australias undefeated streak of 32 years at Gabba.

The final day in Edgbaston may not have delivered the suspense, twists and drama of the Gabba ah, who hooked by debutant Washington Sundar to Pat Cummins, but England’s top league came up with one of the most authoritative chases in the history of the Test. Taking four wins at the trot, all successful pursuits of targets over 270, is no small feat; it’s unprecedented.

However, there were doubts, even from the staunchest of England fans, as to whether their team would be able to beat India as they did New Zealand, especially after leading by 132 in the first innings. But those clouds of fear began to dissipate with the intention of the openers, Alex Lees and Zak Crawley.

Few expected Lees and Crawley, with just one fifty between them in seven Test innings this season and neither belonging to the school of Eoin Morgan who revolutionized England’s white ball cricket, to go after formidable Indian bowling. to go. Fewer expected them to post the fastest hundred for the opening wicket in Test Englands history.

The job may have been done by Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, but it was the way the openers struck that tells us more about the brand of Test cricket, embarrassingly so named for McCullum Bazball (derived from his nickname Baz).

How important is this method, which critics say borders on madness for Test cricket, especially at a time when the ICC chairman has warned of a reduction in long-format games in the future? And will other teams try to emulate England?

Dav Whatmore, the former Australian Test batter who went on to become a World Cup-winning coach, thinks others may be tempted. He gives McCullum credit.

And he had no experience coaching a Test side, did he? What more tells

McCullums’ arrival in England was just as timed as the strokes he played in the first innings of his final Test, which remains the fastest 100 in the format. England had lost the previous four series, including a humiliating 4-0 Drubbing in Australia, and the captain, Root, had resigned. Coach Chris Silverwood had resigned after the Ashes debacle.

Indeed, the situation was no different from the time Flower took over in 2009, when captain Kevin Pietersen retired and coach Peter Moores was sacked. Under the Zimbabwean, England became the No. 1 test team two years later.

But the method Flower used to transform the side has been criticized; he was seen as a hard task master, taking the players to a training camp in Bavaria, so grueling that some ribs were broken. McCullum, on the other hand, is reportedly planning an adventure holiday, with golf and laid-back activities, ahead of the Test series in New Zealand next year.

McCullum was lucky enough to start his job at a time when two English batters, Root and Bairstow, were finding the shape of their lives. It was their unbroken fourth-wicket partnerships that took their team home against India and in the final Test against New Zealand.

While Root, more of a red-ball orthodox batter, played the lapshot and reverse sweep with abandon, it was the relentlessness of the Bairstows bat that made the goals appear smaller in the fourth inning than they actually were. In four Tests, Bairstow had an average of 102.33 and a strike rate of 100.16. He entertained.

Captain Ben Stokes, who has had a dream start, agrees with McCullum that the entertainment aspect is important. Root said the skipper wants them all to be rock stars.

It’s not that hitting the Test hasn’t rocked before. Adam Gilchrist and Virender Sehwag ended their long Test careers with strike rates above 80. But their approach was not shared by all their teammates.

As for McCullum’s approach to Test cricket, it will be interesting to see how it shapes up in the future, especially when England travel. And it should be noted that the testing grounds in England so far this summer have seemed better to blow through than in the past. However, it was not only with the bat that England attacked, but also with the ball.

Importance of conviction

Sujith Somasunder, a former Indian batsman and sports psychologist who teaches at the National Cricket Academy, believes it takes a lot of persuasion to play test cricket the way England does under McCullum.

It’s much more mental than technical, as top-level sport always is, but it’s more the case in Tests because a game can be lost in a session, and there are 15 of them, he says. The decision in high stakes scenarios can be made by the coach, but must permeate the whole team. The players know it’s okay to lose and they won’t be blamed and the coach will take responsibility.

A few weeks after Englands victory against India, Pakistan chased down the 342 run goal set by Sri Lanka at Galle in the first Test, although at a relatively dismal run-rate of 2.70. This year there have already been seven times a team chased over 200 to win a test, tying the 2008 record with five months to go.

As India, England and Pakistan have shown, there is glory in a successful chase. We may not see too many reruns of the Roseau test against the West Indies in 2011, when India settled for a draw to secure the series.

That doesn’t mean a draw isn’t desirable. In fact, there is nothing in the sport like the last ball played, sometimes by the number 11, to salvage a test from a lost position.

The fourth innings of a test game don’t always have to be an extension of T20 (the format that has made the modern batter distinctly more adventurous). When the English batters need inspiration for Plan B when they need to run time, they need look no further than their locker room. McCullum had hit 775 minutes to save the Wellington test against India in 2014.

Is he real?




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