Under the leadership of Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, England has redefined Test cricket with an aggressive approach, known as ‘Bazball’. Despite its success, there are doubts about its effectiveness in India’s spin-friendly conditions. The upcoming five-match series against India poses a significant challenge, especially with the English players lacking experience against spin maestros Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian cricketer, believes that ‘Bazball’ can indeed work in India. Gavaskar pointed out that modern boundaries are smaller, and with improved bats, even mishits can clear the ropes. He emphasized that England’s batsmen would aim to attack the spinners aggressively, putting pressure on them and trying to score big.
“It can work in India, it can. If you look at it, in the last few years, the boundaries have become smaller. The bats have become better and better and even mishits are flying over the boundary. I think the England batters will try to attack the spinners out of the game. They will try to hit them into the stands. Yes, they might get dismissed in the process, but you create a mentality,” explained Sunil Gavaskar in a discussion on Star Sports.
He acknowledged that England’s spinners also play a lot of T20 cricket and highlighted the difference in mentality between longer formats and T20s. In T20s, the focus is often on avoiding boundaries, but in Tests, England may adopt an aggressive approach.
As England prepares for the series, the team is expected to arrive in India on January 22, three days ahead of the first Test in Hyderabad. The team underwent a preparatory camp in the UAE, where the batters faced challenges against spinners.
Upon reaching India, the squad, led by Ben Stokes, is scheduled to have two practice sessions before the series opener on January 25. The series promises to be a captivating contest between England’s attacking style and India’s spin prowess.