From the lows of Australia and the Caribbean to the highs at home in New Zealand, India, and South Africa. It looks as if this new ‘Bazball’ style approach from Ben Stoke’s side is the foundation of their quest to get back the ICC Test Mace.
Before the McCullum and Stokes partnership began, there were many question marks on the team on their fight and lack of character to show fight, particularly from being down in a Series.
But the new approach from England has turned the tide in their favor, and now it’s their opponents who have had to answer those questions, especially when it comes to selecting their playing XI i.e do we need an extra-bowler or batter?
What is Bazball?
‘Baz’ is the nickname of Brendon McCullum. McCullum was often known as an aggressive Wicketkeeper Batsman, who used to always look for the aggressive or positive option, no matter the position which the team was in. and that is the mindset that he instilled in his players, including his stint in franchise cricket.
But it’s not all just been about bish, bash, bosh with the bat, when Stokes’s side takes the field, you can see that they are more interested in looking for wickets and wanting to bowl the opposition out, rather than just stemming the flow of runs.
And it looks like this approach is working, as the team has won six of their seven scheduled Tests this summer.
And a win at the Oval is a great way to come out of the mourning of her majesty the Queen, who passed away on Thursday evening.
‘It has been a series where we haven’t had any real individual standout performances, but different people throughout the series have put their hands up in crucial periods for us. “In a team sport that is what you want, you want to be able to turn to different people at different times and hope that they can break the game open for you with ball and bat and that is what we have definitely managed to do this whole series. “For me, it is about the clarity of the decisions. Me and Brendon are the guys who are sending this message to this group of players, I said to the lads in the dressing room the other day that the person who is delivering the message can only do so much.
Ben Stokes: Mirror
Coming back to the real ‘Baz’ the new Head Coach praised the entire squad and said he was surprised with the team’s transformation over the past few months.
“I thought English cricket had a lot of talent but it’s got a lot more than I thought,” “I knew these guys were good but they are a lot better than I thought.”It is a very privileged position to be in to go and help these guys perform. It has been an absolute thrill.”
Baz McCullum: BBC Sport
However, this Bazball fantasy is still not over, as England is due to tour Pakistan for some T20Is in September, and then three Tests in December.
As the conditions are superly different to England, it will be interesting to see if Bazball still works in Pakistan.
The other challenge for England will be to find a way of taking 20 wickets, something they have struggled to do on flat pitches, particularly when it’s hot.
Spin and pace seem to be the go-to option, particularly when it comes to reverse swing, as it is a country known for its fast bowlers. Take Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as an example.
It will be interesting to see if they can maintain the same intensity of Baseball, particularly in the heat of Pakistan.
Is this the start of an era of ‘Bazball’ dominance for England?
Find out on World in Sport