Former England captain Sir Ian Botham gave credit to the side’s Bazball approach for drawing fans back to Test cricket. The Bazball approach, which is an aggressive style of play, started when former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum took over as England’s Test coach in mid-2022. Along with captain Ben Stokes, they have since transformed England’s style of Test cricket, and tasted success as well. Under them, England have won 14 out of 20 Tests with only a draw.
Speaking on SENQ 693, Botham praised England’s Bazball approach, saying, “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,” he further added.
However, England are yet to lose a Test series since when they have started using the Bazball as well. They are currently level with India at 1-1 after two Tests in the five-match series as well. Moreover, 2023 Ashes witnessed several counter-attacking knocks from them as well which saw a thrilling 2-2 draw in a five-match series as well.
“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,” said Ian Botham.