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Explained: What is new cricketing term Bazball?

Explained: What is new cricketing term Bazball?

The England cricket team has ushered in a new era of Test cricket under coach Brendon McCullum, with the Kiwis’ bazball philosophy changing the way the longest format of the game is played.

The word ‘bazball’ is named after the head coach of England, Brendon McCullum. This essentially means an aggressive approach towards scoring quick runs in Test cricket as well. ‘Bazball’ is designed to entertain and try to win matches, not to attract them. England chased down the target of 277, 299 and 296 against New Zealand in 78.5, 50 and 54.2 overs respectively.

McCullum, who took over as England’s Test coach in May 2022, didn’t take long to establish his aggressive mindset, which was a feature in his batting during his playing days, for a team that played a major role before his arrival. Only one win was recorded in 17 Tests.

What is Bazball?

Bazball‘ essentially means an aggressive approach to scoring quick runs, even in Test cricket, a format that is traditionally much slower than its limited-overs counterparts like ODI and T20 and sees batsmen take a much more conservative approach.

McCullum, popularly nicknamed Baz since his playing days, used to bat with the same approach, namely attacking and making runs and putting pressure on bowlers. Under his captaincy, the New Zealand test team reached new heights. He also prospered as a captain, as he made him a better hitter.

As head coach of the England men’s team, McCullum brought the same approach and applied it in his first test series as coach against New Zealand. The hosts shut out the Black Caps 3-0 and the ‘Bazball’ talk continued from there.

“Pant came out to play a bit of Bazball, as everyone keeps calling it. When you have a bit of moisture on the pitch early on, you have the opportunity to take early wickets, which is what we did. We’re going against the big part of cricket that has been played for the last 100 years… We are trying to play in the most positive way possible and play cricket entertaining. Ben Stokes is not going to take a step back,” Collingwood had said.

The philosophy draws heavily from Brendon McCullum’s batting style during his successful Test run for New Zealand. Even when his team appeared to be under pressure, McCullum sought to put the pressure back on opponents by going on the offensive.

Likewise, Bazball’s way of scoring runs sees batsmen take an aggressive approach, even during the middle overs, and keep the pressure on opposing bowlers.

A series against New Zealand should have been a rocky start for Stokes and McCullum, but only if England gave them a chance.

Over the next four weeks, ‘Bazball’ has pushed English Test Cricket on a roller coaster ride that has been as exciting as it has been unexpected.

Bazball is a term coined by the England team. It takes aim at the aggressive and entertaining brand of cricket that England are aiming to play in Test matches under their new manager Brendon McCullum.

In the second innings of the second Test, Captain Stokes and Jonny Bairstow broke over 150 runs in 16 overs to chase down a total. That was ‘Bazball’ cricket, something Stokes said they will continue to play in Test vs India and future Tests as well.

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