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Accusing Bazball for England's defeats disregards India's exceptional performance | Ali Martin
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Accusing Bazball for England’s defeats disregards India’s exceptional performance | Ali Martin


In the modern digital age, there is nothing in the sport of cricket that can compare to the addictive nature of Bazball. If England wins, it’s a revolution. If England loses, it’s a misguided idea, likened to a delusional leader strutting down the street in pride.

This behavior is harmful to the opposing team, such as India who won by a record 434 runs in Rajkot, causing them to question why they are constantly used in generalizations about England. Test matches involve two teams, and Rohit Sharma’s team is exceptionally skilled.

Joe Root was dismissed by a reverse scoop from the seamer. Bazball, you are negatively impacting England’s top player. However, it should be noted that Jasprit Bumrah, the top fast bowler, had previously been able to get Root out in four innings with his whiplashed angle and late movement causing more uncertainty than any positive words.

Did England give up on the fourth evening? Bazball, you fool. However, isn’t Ravindra Jadeja a terrifying opponent for visiting batters when playing on his home pitch? Even the reigning world Test champions Australia fell victim to his bowling prowess last year, scoring only 113 runs in Delhi with five of their players being bowled out in a swift and effortless seven-wicket defeat.

The English batsmen are facing high stakes in this series, not just because of their aggressive approach or in isolation. It is also due to the precision of India’s bowlers, who are able to generate significant turn and drift with their spin deliveries. Additionally, India’s batters have the luxury of having at least one easy shot per over against a relatively inexperienced spin attack.

The larger issue in India is the difficulty of breaking through their 11-year stronghold for all teams. Despite Virat Kohli’s absence for personal reasons and Mohammed Shami’s injury, there is a surplus of talent, as shown by Sarfaraz Khan’s need to score a significant amount of runs in the Ranji Trophy just to get noticed.

India’s Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after taking the wicket of Joe Root in the third Test

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This does not mean that England is without fault, and they should not give up with a 2-1 score and two games left. As the players lounged around their hotel on day five, exhausted from their physical and mental efforts, they had some time to think before flying to Ranchi for the fourth Test on Friday.

Day four had been a gruelling one, no question, Yashasvi Jaiswal’s second double century of the series in the dry heat of Gujarat having fully tenderised them for chef Jadeja to work his stuff. The result was clearly alarming, only mildly offset by Mark Wood thrashing his shirt number, 33, to take the total past three figures.

However, a lot can be attributed to the events that occurred earlier in the game. The missed catch of Sharma on day one, which would have put India at 47 for four, was a crucial turning point. The most significant factor, however, was the events of day three. After an energetic comeback led by Ben Duckett’s exciting century the night before, England suffered a devastating collapse.

Bazball’s greatest moments include more than just dominating the Rawalpindi road in 2022 or Zak Crawley’s impressive performance against Australia in Manchester last summer. The team has also shown strength in run chases and Ollie Pope’s daring 196 in Hyderabad, where risk paid off. Throughout their journey, they have demonstrated adaptability and a subtle approach to their game, contrary to some perceptions.

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Two players come to mind. When England was facing a strong attack from South Africa at Old Trafford during the first summer, they were behind 1-0 and had lost 5 wickets with only 147 runs on the board. However, Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes put their heads down and built a partnership of 173 runs in 53.2 overs, with a run rate of 3.2, which ultimately led to their victory. In a day-night Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui last year, they were aware that playing at night favored the new Kookaburra ball, so they strategically slowed down their scoring and relied on Stuart Broad to take care of the rest.

However, in the event of India being one player short due to Ravichandran Ashwin’s familial emergency, there was an opening to utilize the seamers for a second and third round of bowling; an opportunity to test Jadeja’s injured hamstring’s endurance over an extended period. Contrary to this plan, Stokes’ directive was to resume bowling that evening, resulting in eight wickets for 95 runs.

Many have drawn parallels between the current situation and Lord’s last summer, when Nathan Lyon was injured during the Ashes series. However, when questioned about why the team did not learn from that experience and whether pushing their opponents to tire them out was a more aggressive strategy, Brendon McCullum dismissed it. He stated that this topic has never been discussed because it could distract the players from their main focus.

The main concept is to give them the freedom to make sound choices in the present moment, to be fully engaged, and to adapt their strategies accordingly.

While it is true that each delivery in a Test match happens in a split-second, it may not be entirely without justification. However, it is not immediately clear how this differs from a directive to resume bowling in the evening. This is where, despite the many positives of the past two years, some frustration arises; there is a concern that excessive masculinity has become a hindrance.

Once more, India’s Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah played key roles in their victory over England, proving that not every Test match should be viewed as a measure of Bazball. It is important to avoid reducing the game to a simple either/or decision.

Source: theguardian.com