'We will drop at least 4 players': Ashwin on why India can't adopt ‘Bazball’ | Crickit

'We will drop at least 4 players from playing XI': Ashwin's blunt verdict on why India can't adopt 'Bazball' in Tests

Aug 02, 2023 05:53 PM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin spoke in detail about the advent of ‘Bazball’, and explained why it would be hard for India to adopt the aggressive approach in Tests.

England’s new brand of ‘Bazball’ cricket in the longest format of the sport has earned them rewards since Brendon McCullum’s appointment in June 2022, recording big match wins over South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and Australia, and an important Ashes draw 2-2 against their greatest rivals. It is a concept and approach to Test cricket that has enamoured audiences across the world, and made the England team an exciting outfit to watch perform.

R Ashwin (R) spoke in detail about the chances of India adopting 'Bazball'(AP/File)
R Ashwin (R) spoke in detail about the chances of India adopting 'Bazball'(AP/File)

However, with calls being made in many circles for Test cricket to start shifting to follow those lines given its ability to produce results and weed out draws, it hasn’t received the same kind of support for other teams to adopt that policy. Indian veteran R Ashwin spoke on his YouTube channel about why it would be a bad idea for India to try and carry out a similar plan, explaining why he thinks it wouldn’t provide the desired results if carried out by the national team’s coaches.

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In a recent video, Ashwin answered a question regarding the possibility of India following England’s footsteps, and pointed out the pitfalls with it, especially given the already-changing nature of the format in the country. In response, Ashwin said: “We are playing Test cricket really well. But we will go through a transition very soon, and things won’t be easy during that phase. There will be a few issues here and there.”

Ashwin also pointed out that Indian fans and management don’t have the same kind of patience that has allowed England to work out the kinks in their new approach under Ben Stokes and McCullum. “But let us assume India is adopting Bazball during this transition phase. Let us assume a player throws his bat at everything like Harry Brook and gets out and we lose two Test matches. What will we do? Will we back the Bazball and the players? We will drop at least four players from our playing XI.”

The high-risk high-reward nature of England’s play is what makes it so entertaining, and results in a back-and-forth rollercoaster of a series such as the Ashes have been. However, India’s approach to cricket has already borne fruit at home and abroad, with successful outings in England and Australia in particular. Moreover, players such as Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer already look to score at high run-rates, and have proven that they can play in a multitude of ways depending on the situation, and don’t need to be married to one particular style of play.

“That’s how our culture has always been. So, we can’t copy others’ style of play just because it worked for them,” continued Ashwin. “It works for them because their management is fully in with this style of play, their selectors back the players to play this way. In fact, even their crowd and Test match-watching public are backing the team in this process. But we can’t do this,” said the off-spinner, typically outspoken about how he views the sport and the team’s approach to it.

Ashwin also turned his attention towards the high-pressure home World Cup coming up for India in light of these comments, and requested that fans don’t criticize the team too harshly and rather provide their support for Rohit Sharma’s outfit. “The least I am asking is when we get into the 2023 World Cup, let us send the team with full positivity. That will be my only request,” concluded the off-spinner.

Ashwin was in fine form as India downed the West Indies in their two-match series, and will next be called up for the tour to South Africa late this year, which remains the biggest mark missing on India’s record overseas.

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