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With Pakistan having an upcoming series against a revamped England side, a lot of debates will surely happen in the Men In Green locker room. Which is how they will be able to counter the new brand of test cricket the English side has come up with. Interestingly Pakistan have a completely polar opposite style of play so it will be interesting to see how the teams match up when the series starts later this year.
What is Bazball?
This is a term that has been started on social media to describe how the British side has started to play under new Head Coach Brendon McCullum. Recently there has been a lot of praise for the way they have played under their new captain Ben Stokes and the head coach.
It all started in the series against NZ when England had started to play this certain brand of Test cricket where it was to win it at all costs and play with full freedom. This allowed them to play at a run rate of almost 5 as they did against India.
The common conception of test cricket is that it could be very unentertaining as there is a lot of patience required and temperament. This felt like a fresh breath of air for the format.
The Three Lions have efficiently found a way to execute this in the game and it’s all about the mentality that Brendon McCullum has influenced into the side. It is a sort of a no risk no reward tactic which seems to just click.
Mark Boucher even said, “That this is the way test cricket will move forward.”
How can Pakistan cope?
This series will be very important to Pakistan if they want to qualify for the WTC Final.
The Shaheens will have to score high and make sure to bowl very well to constrict England and try to win the series and hopefully whitewash them. Bowlers like Naseem Shah, and Shaheen Shah Afridi have to vary of line and length as these batsmen will punish if any sort of width is given or if a ball is too short or full. Spinners need to be at their utmost best in being able to stop the top and middle order to take the game away from Pakistan in the first 2 or 3 sessions.
Conditions could suit the men in green better as they offer much less pace and swing compared to England. It will be difficult for batters like Johnny Bairstow and Joe Root as they love the pace on the bowl but pitches in Karachi and Lahore have been criticised for being too flat like in the Australia series.
Can Pakistan incorporate Bazball into their style of play?
Many might hope that one day Pakistan could play the way The Poms have played recently and much can be said as to whether the Shaheens can be able to perform in such a way. To start, the Men in Green have always been known for their non-gutsy attitude towards a specific challenge in test cricket. Players like Azhar Ali and co have always been provoked that they go and sleep on the wicket. They are criticised for not punishing the bad ball and how they are always willing to absorb pressure but never release and fire back at the fielding side.
In some situations, it works no doubt but questions could be raised when Pakistan are always amongst the lowest run rates across most of the cricketing world. Players like Shan Masood and Muhammad Rizwan have started to show some positive intent in the county season that happened recently in UK. Abdullah Shafique has the capability to also improve his strike rate but he can be a batsman that provides stability to the batting order.
It will be interesting to see how test cricket in all countries moves forward from now on.