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There’s been plenty of chat about it. But what actually is ‘bazball’ and should we care?

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bazball, the Ashes

Test cricket has faced loud criticism in the past for its ‘slow’ traditional style and evolution, but ‘bazball’ is out to change all that.

It’s a term that’s now being thrown around commonly in the world of cricket and many people are still unaware of what it means and where it came from. Currently, ‘bazball’ encompasses the England cricket team (ECB), with their Test side playing a brand of the sport that many would deem risky and careless.

However, it has actually turned their form entirely around; England has gone from near the bottom of the top tier test nations to a near-unbeatable run-scoring machine.

So here’s everything you need to know about the term sweeping the cricketing globe.

Bazball explained

The term Bazball is a play on the nickname of recently appointed England Test coach Brendan ‘Baz’ McCullum.

bazball image
What’s Bazball? | ECB skipper Ben Stokes with coach Brendon McCullum

The style of cricket it is perfectly captures the essence of how he used to play cricket in the New Zealand national side up until he retired in 2018.

Under his leadership and also newly appointed captain Ben Stokes, England have completely changed the way they play cricket, focusing on playing in a positive and entertaining manner.

In a nutshell, McCullum’s philosophy is for his side to be aggressive and apply all the pressure onto their opponents, before the script is flipped.

That might sound like the aim in all sports but when it comes to cricket, pressure is usually built more methodically; building slow partnerships that tire the fielding side instead of swinging for the fences on every ball.

The bazball strategy prioritises high scoring and entertaining the masses rather than playing defensively and protecting their wickets.

the ashes, world test championship, bazball
Will ‘Bazball’ work against the World Test Champions in the hotly anticipated Ashes Test series?

Why is England approaching Test cricket this way?

When McCullum was given the head role of England’s Test coach in May 2022, he wildly claimed that the tactics he was going to bring into the side were going to rescue Test cricket.

In a sport where play can be halted due to ‘bad light’, it’s quite easy to get bad press. So playing it in a way that is entertaining no matter what stage of the game it is is a sure fire way to generate popularity.

Along with that is the fact that up until McCullum’s appointment, England had lost ten of it last 14 Tests with one win and three drawn matches.

So it’s far to say something needed to change.

Not to forget that they had failed to pass 300 runs in all five of the Ashes games in Australia their last time down under.

Is McCullum’s plan working for the ECB?

Since ‘Baz’ took over, the England cricket team have been on a tear, winning three of their past four series, with only a recent one run loss to New Zealand interrupting their perfect run.

They’ve clean swept two sides; New Zealand back in June and Pakistan in September, with their victory over the latter being an historic one.

England hadn’t defeated Pakistan away from their home soil in 22 years, ECB’s fourth ever clean sweep.

Even when it comes to batting statsitsics, England is now averaging 304 runs an innings, which was previously around the low-200s before McCullum.

So it’s fair to say that Baz is onto something with his bazball.

When is England’s next Test match?

England’s Test side will be back in action in a few months time in preparation for a hotly anticipated Ashes series on their home soil.

They will play a one-off match against Ireland at Lords from the 1st June and will then suit up to take on Australia at Edgbaston on June 16.

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