HomeCricketWhat is Bazball in Cricket

What is Bazball in Cricket

Batting is one of the most celebrated aspects of cricket. The technique, strategy, and mindset related to batting have evolved over centuries, shaping the game’s narrative.

One such fascinating evolution is the concept of “Bazball,” a term coined to encapsulate the aggressive and flamboyant style of batting reminiscent of the legendary cricketer, Brendon McCullum. 

So, if you are wondering what is Bazball in cricket and it’s evolution, read on. 

Origins of Bazball

The term “Bazball” originates from Brendon “Baz” McCullum, whose aggressive batting style during his career set new standards for attacking play. McCullum’s approach, characterized by audacious stroke play and relentless aggression, was a stark departure from traditional batting conservatism. Bazball cricket in simple terms meaning scoring at a faster pace in Tests. 

McCullum was renowned for his aggressive stroke play. During his tenure as New Zealand captain, he enjoyed significant success by adopting an attacking strategy.

Bazball is an informal term coined by ESPN Cricinfo editor Andrew Miller during the 2022 English cricket season to describe the dynamic and aggressive style of play adopted by the England cricket team in Test matches. This approach emerged following the appointments of McCullum as the Test head coach and Ben Stokes as the Test captain, in May 2022.

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Why the Term Bazball?

During Brendon McCullum’s tenure as England’s coach, the fortunes of the England Test cricket team saw a significant turnaround. Prior to McCullum and Ben Stokes taking on their new roles, the team had managed just one win in seventeen Tests. 

Despite no major changes in the player roster, England’s performance improved dramatically. The bowlers consistently delivered, taking 20 wickets in six of the seven Tests, while the batsmen adopted an aggressive approach, scoring at an unprecedented pace. As a result, England won six out of their seven Test matches that summer. Eventually, the media industry started using the term Bazball frequently to describe England’s new style of cricket. 

England’s first Test series under Brendon McCullum saw them face New Zealand.  England swept the series 3-0, and all their wins came in the Bazball style of play. They kept New Zealand’s bowlers under constant pressure, exemplified by their successful chases of 277, 299, and 296 runs, all achieved in less than 80 overs each.

England made history by becoming the first team in Test cricket to chase down three scores of over 250 runs in consecutive games against New Zealand, showing the world what Bazball means. Additionally, they became the first England side to win four consecutive Test matches while batting last. Stokes always opted to chase after winning the toss, a strategy unconventional in the game’s longest format. 

Suggested Read: Explained: Time Out in Cricket

Criticism of Bazball

However, the concept of Bazball faced criticism following England’s heavy defeat to India in 2023. In the third Test in Rajkot, India achieved their largest-ever Test victory, defeating England by 434 runs. Chasing a target of 557, England was dismissed for just 122 runs. India went on to win the series 4-1. 

England had won 14 out of 18 Tests under Stokes and McCullum before playing against India in India. However, bazball backfired against India as they lost four of the five Tests. 

After this significant loss, former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan publicly criticized the team’s Bazball strategy.

“This was the worst defeat under (Ben) Stokes and Brendon McCullum, and one that exposed their method. They cannot take the aggressive at every opportunity, they have to pick their moments,” Vaughan wrote in his column for Telegraph.co.uk.  

“Bazball is about being attacking but it is also about soaking up pressure,” Hussain said on Sky Sports.

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In conclusion, Bazball represents a transformative shift in Test cricket, seen in the fearless play under the leadership of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes. This strategy has revitalized the England Test team, redefining conventional tactics. However, it is not a winning mantra and can also backfire, as is evident from England’s loss to teams like India and Australia.

This positive approach makes for cracking cricket and the players are often game-changers – both for their sides as well as in fantasy cricket. Download WinZO fantasy app to play fantasy cricket.



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