Boycott savages ‘common-sense’-lacking Stokes, McCullum as Bazball backfires | Cricket

Former England player Geoffrey Boycott launched a scathing criticism against England after the visitors suffered a 106-run loss against India in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. He blamed England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum for the loss that allowed India to level the series as he savaged the Bazball approach, calling it nonsensical.

England's Ben Stokes with coach Brendon McCullum during the 2nd Test against India in Visakhapatnam(REUTERS)
England’s Ben Stokes with coach Brendon McCullum during the 2nd Test against India in Visakhapatnam(REUTERS)

India scripted a comeback in the second Test after losing in Hyderabad by 28 runs in the series opener. Yashasvi Jaiswal’s record knock of 209, along with Shubman Gill’s maiden ton in Test cricket batting at No. 3, helped India set a target of 399 runs. Zak Crawley put up a brave fight against India with his knock of 73 runs, but the bowlers kept chipping away with wickets at regular intervals. England were eventually folded for 292 runs in the second session on Day 4 in Vizag.

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“Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes are besotted with attack, attack, attack. It’s as if they say ‘if we can’t win, we will go down in glorious failure instead.’ But there is no glory in failure or defeat,” Boycott wrote in his column on The Telegraph.

“Bazball is great entertainment when it comes off. But once you believe in an ideal over substance, then you have lost the plot. Today England gave the match away. Bazball was a failure.”

At the stroke of lunch on Day 4, England, who had take the aggressive route in the chase, went five down, which included the dismissal of one of their best batters, Joe Root. Boycott blasted the Bazball mentality for Root’s dismissal for 16 runs off 10 deliveries, saying it forced him to go against playing his natural game.

“Scoring at five an over was entertaining but too many batsmen gave their wickets away after good starts. The best way to achieve a total of nearly 400 is by one of the batsmen scoring a big hundred. Looking to go after good bowlers and scoring quickly comes with risk. Bazball cost Joe Root his wicket. As soon as he came in, he was dancing down the pitch trying to hit it over the top and very soon swiped it up in the air. He only scored 16. England’s best technical batsman is normally a busy player who scores at a good rate, but trying to go after the bowling as soon as he comes in takes him out of his comfort zone,” Boycott wrote.

The veteran England cricketer further said that executing T20-style cricket in Test cricket was the primary cause behind their loss in the second Test against India, and urged the visiting side to play with more “common sense” and “adapt to the circumstances”.

“Twenty20 cricket seems to have got in their head and made them think that every ball must be scored off with an aggressive stroke, sweep, swipe or cross-batted shot. Twenty20 is cricket’s answer to baseball, where you attempt a big hit every time. England’s batting resembled Twenty20. But why can’t our team play positively and with common sense? Batting has always been about being able to adapt to the circumstances, whether that is conditions or the opponents. Pick your moments when to attack and defend,” Boycott added.

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