Steve Smith has challenged England to try their new attacking approach against Australia’s bowlers at Ashes next year and questioned the sustainability of ‘Bazball’.
Steve Smith has challenged England to try out their new attacking approach against Australia’s bowlers in the Ashes next summer after questioning the sustainability of ‘Bazball’.
‘Bazball’ is the phrase used to describe the positive approach England have taken under the leadership of Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum, the new head coach, and Ben Stokes, the recently appointed Test captain.
Smith, 33, who was heard shouting “Bazball” after putting a powerful shot into the net ahead of Australia’s friendly against Sri Lanka in Galle, has England, who lost 4-0 Down Under in the winter but won – but won , skeptical about their last four games and chasing a record 378 against India this week.
“It was exciting,” Smith said. “I’m just curious to see how long it lasts if it’s sustainable. If you come on a wicket with some weed and Josh Hazlewood, [Pat] Cummins and [Mitchell] Starc approaches you, will it be the same? I’m fascinated by all of this. Will it work every time? I do not know.”
McCullum is said to hate the term ‘Bazball’ and Smith revealed the New Zealander isn’t the only international coach who thinks so. “The boys just joke about it – I think Ronnie [Andrew McDonald, Australia’s head coach] To be honest, he’s tired of hearing about “Bazball” — it’s fun to joke about,” he said.
While Smith may have reservations about ‘Bazball’, England fans clearly have different opinions as demand has surged for tickets to the three Test series against South Africa which begin next month.
Sales have been particularly strong at Lord’s and Old Trafford since England’s sweeping victory over India at Edgbaston. The Kia Oval was already sold out on days one through four of its friendly – the last of the summer.
The innovative approach England have taken extends to training and preparing for friendly matches. Stokes revealed that in their first conversation, he and McCullum decided to treat the players like adults.
After eight years of quietly questioning why England clung blindly to tradition – such as the whole team warming up for an hour on a batting day – Stokes wanted to make changes.
“The first conversation we had with Baz was when we said, ‘Things can be done differently.’ As long as everyone is comfortable knowing that their preparation is good, that they are going out knowing that everything was done the way they want it as individuals, why wouldn’t you do it that way?”
This makes preparing for exams different than in the past. The team arrives on the ground later in the morning, there are no rigorous warm-ups, there is no meeting, and each player decides what to do. On a batting day, the only preparation for some might simply be a coffee.
“I said the warm-up change [to Brendon], “Why do we warm up when we hit? What’s the point of doing a few runs to being back in my training gear in the dressing room?’ Just little things like that,” said Stokes, 31.
“It’s taken away all the external pressures that playing in international sport brings – there’s enough of individuals and the team as it is, but taking away all the other things is why everything is so relaxed and calm and comfortable at the moment is.
“Everything said and done by this team is focused on positivity. It’s the theme that has run through the last four Tests, both on and off the pitch.
“We look at every situation we find ourselves in and always look at what the positives are. For example, we rebranded what Nightwatchman is about. We called her “Nighthawk,” and that was Stuart Broad – he wanted to go out with half an hour of play to try and literally brawl. That’s where we are at the moment and it’s great.”
And what is the goal of the night owl? “To get 30 out of ten [balls] — or maybe none of that,” Stokes said.
– The times
Originally released as Steve Smith unconvinced, England’s “Bazball” will work against Australia’s all-star attack
https://www.codesports.com.au/cricket/steve-smith-not-convinced-englands-bazball-will-work-against-australias-allstar-attack/news-story/76edd2d6f58c8f9ac13acb8b6b0e7e70?nk=69e3cedc2c463ab5e5012bdede4e7dde-1657154046 Ashes 2023, Australia vs England, Steve Smith at Bazball