“Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum Besotted With…”: England Great Geoffrey Boycott Blasts ‘Bazball’

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The high-flying ‘Bazball’ was brought down to the ground by the Indian cricket team as Rohit Sharma‘s men secured a 106-run triumph against England in the second Test of the 5-match series in Vizag. Chasing a target of 399 runs in the second innings, England hit self-destruct as many batters departed while trying to score runs quickly. The lack of patience in batters saw wickets falling at regular intervals, prompting criticism from one of England’s greatest players ever, Geoffrey Boycott.

In his column for The Telegraph, Boycott slammed the ‘Bazball’ approach, suggesting there’s no glory in defeat.

Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes are besotted with attack, attack, attack. It’s as if they say ‘if we can’t win, we will go down in glorious failure instead.’ But there is no glory in failure or defeat,” Boycott wrote.

“Bazball is great entertainment when it comes off. But once you believe in an ideal over substance, then you have lost the plot. Today England gave the match away. Bazball was a failure.”

Giving the example of Joe Root, who departed for just 16 runs while trying to score an audacious stroke, Boycott condemned the ultra-attacking approach that cost England the wicket of its most technically sound batter.

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“Scoring at five an over was entertaining but too many batsmen gave their wickets away after good starts. The best way to achieve a total of nearly 400 is by one of the batsmen scoring a big hundred. Looking to go after good bowlers and scoring quickly comes with risk. Bazball cost Joe Root his wicket. As soon as he came in, he was dancing down the pitch trying to hit it over the top and very soon swiped it up in the air. He only scored 16. England’s best technical batsman is normally a busy player who scores at a good rate, but trying to go after the bowling as soon as he comes in takes him out of his comfort zone,” Boycott wrote.

“Twenty20 cricket seems to have got in their head and made them think that every ball must be scored off with an aggressive stroke, sweep, swipe or cross-batted shot. Twenty20 is cricket’s answer to baseball, where you attempt a big hit every time. England’s batting resembled Twenty20.”

Though there are no signs that England will alter their approach in the coming matches, Boycott is hoping for matters to be dealt with using more ‘common sense’.

“But why can’t our team play positively and with common sense? Batting has always been about being able to adapt to the circumstances, whether that is conditions or the opponents. Pick your moments when to attack and defend,” Boycott wrote.

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