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The outcome of England's third Test loss likely signifies the end of Bazball rhetoric, according to James Wallace.
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The outcome of England’s third Test loss likely signifies the end of Bazball rhetoric, according to James Wallace.

Yashasvi Jaiswal smashes his 12th six out of the park in Rajkot on his path to a magnificent and relentless score of 200. “Ha, just a minor injury!”

Jimmy Anderson, your 41‑year‑old seamer who detests going for boundaries and prides himself on parsimonious economy rates, is smeared for 78 runs in 13 bone‑grinding overs in the afternoon sun. “Tis but a scratch!”

India has chosen to use Kuldeep Yadav as a nightwatchman at the end of day three, and the team finishes with a 322-run advantage and eight wickets remaining. “Wow, they seem shaken!”

Yadav emerges the following morning and hits a beautiful six off the third over of the day, using his inexperienced off-spinning skills to drive the ball down the ground. This is the first time he has successfully hit a six in his international career. “They must be feeling nervous now!”

The bowler with a left-arm spin may sport a Charlie Chaplin-style haircut, but he is not in a joking mood. In fact, he scores 27 runs off 91 balls and spends 93 minutes at the batting crease, which is half an hour longer than anyone on your team manages during your second innings when you are tasked with scoring 557 runs in a day and a half. “Perhaps this is starting to sting a bit,” you think to yourself.

Mark Wood hits a shot from Ravindra Jadeja towards the ground, but is caught by Jaiswal at mid-off, resulting in a 434-run loss and a 2-1 defeat in the series. “You have defeated us, but we will return. Perhaps you could mention us in the post-match press conference for influencing your style of play? You couldn’t have achieved it without us, don’t forget.”

Enough. Enough now. This defeat surely calls time, comprehensively, on the Black Knight-inspired rhetoric that sometimes wafts out of the Bazball camp. Put the placards down and the swivel-eyed pronouncements away after that one, please.

Ben Duckett’s bravado came back to bite him as he was run out early in England’s chase.View image in fullscreen

A friend messages that England is now at 50 runs for six wickets lost, as Ben Stokes is out and the team captain becomes the second of three wickets to fall. This puts them at a standstill and their chances of catching up are fading. They also add, “The silver lining of this defeat is that it will hopefully put an end to all the painfully embarrassing jokes.”

After being asked about the realistic target England could chase in the fourth innings, Ben Duckett responded with a screengrab of his close-of-play pronouncement: “The more the better… they can have as many as they want and we’ll go and get them.” However, a day later, England was quickly dismissed for only 122 runs in less than 40 overs, making Duckett’s casual and unfocused statement seem as outdated as a piece of stilton cheese left out in the hot sun on the Rajkot roof.

The current England Test team is the most thrilling in a long time. There hasn’t been a squad that has captured the attention of both cricket fans and the general public since the exciting days of 2005. It has been almost two years since Stokes took charge and transformed a struggling Test side, who had only won one out of 17 matches, into a dominant force. Their achievements have reverberated from local parks to pubs, petrol stations to school events, and even made headlines, all while bringing joy and laughter to viewers.

While actions hold more weight than words, when the words used are cumbersome and boastful, they can be jarring and irritating. This English team is incredibly endearing, and it would be a shame if they became too absorbed in their own glorification.

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Bazball is a fun activity to do at the pub, it’s even better with your mom and friends. However, it was disappointing when you returned to Bazball’s apartment and found a ouija board on the kitchen table and crystal skulls displayed on top of the fridge.

Recently, Stokes has toned down his grandiose claims about rescuing Test cricket and motivating other teams. Instead, his recent rhetoric has primarily revolved around what is most beneficial for his own team rather than concerning others. However, the initial ambitious days have instilled in his team a tendency towards exaggeration and a slightly ridiculous, yet endearing, cult-like behavior.

One of the issues is the need for consistency between how the side communicates with the public and privately. It is great that they have these thoughts, which have undoubtedly motivated some incredible accomplishments in recent years. However, it would be beneficial if they could moderate their enthusiasm, as certain comments may be perceived as provoking the opposition or positioning themselves as the saviors of the game.

Stokes stated that everyone has their own perceptions and opinions. He emphasized that the opinions of those in the dressing room are the most important to them. It is now necessary to keep some of the more absurd and bothersome aspects of Bazball private.

Source: theguardian.com