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R Ashwin highlights flaw with England’s Bazball method: ‘Test cricket cannot be played like airplane on runway’

Ashwin also explains why he feels that Bazball has a future despite England’s 1-4 defeat against India

After England’s 1-4 Test series defeat against India, there has been a lot of questions about the future of Bazball, the style of play England have employed where they go for broke and try to dominate their opponents with aggression.

Despite the doom and gloom back in England, Indian cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin believes that the ‘Bazball method has a future’.

“So many people have commented that they lost 1-4, but in my opinion, we really came under immense pressure in the series. If the team manages to get the right balance, it is bound for success,” Ashwin, who claimed nine wickets in the final India versus England Test, said on his YouTube channel.

Ashwin had much to celebrate, he played in his 100th Test and went past the 500-wicket mark during the five-match series.WTC 2023-25:R Ashwin's brilliant performance with the ball led India to the win in Dharamsala.WTC 2023-25:R Ashwin’s brilliant performance with the ball led India to the win in Dharamsala.

However, despite the pressure England put them under, India managed to overcome the inexperience of their own players and defeat England in the final four Tests after losing the first one.

What went wrong with Bazball

Ashwin pointed out the flaw in the Bazball method. He singled out England opener Zak Crawley’s dismissal in the first innings of the Dharamsala Test to make his point. Crawley was bowled by Kuldeep Yadav for 79 as he tried to drive the spinner’s delivery.

“Kuldeep’s Zak Crawley dismissal was a beauty. He had hit a boundary between covers and mid off just on over back. So he was in good flow. The gap still existed as bait for him. He tried again, got cramped and the ball passed between his gates. He had already hit four-five boundaries. It’s not that we bowled fuller suddenly. When such high-risk shot is played, he loses his wicket. Crawley’s scores in 60s and 70s are pearls that missed becoming a hundred because of his high-risk cricket.

“Test cricket, or any other form of cricket for that matter, cannot be played like an airplane on a runway. We cannot step on the pedal and accelerate till we take off! It’s the same as driving on highways. Sometimes, when I think of it, is it because of how they drive in England? Driving in England is bliss. No one comes in between. You can keep driving in the same lane. We cannot overtake on the left. They never expect unexpected things. If they see something unexpected, they crash. I have a feeling they will be very confused if they see how we drive in India,” Ashwin said grinning.

He continued: “In India you cannot always drive in the fourth gear. We keep changing gears. We always keep one foot on the brake. This concept is alien to them! Crawley always gets momentum, but cannot keep it going. Bazball is about the transfer of pressure onto the opponents. But after the transfer of pressure, what happens? They should be like, ‘we have to make them pay!’ If they manage to do that, then the game is on. This series would have gone their way with the inexperience we had (in our ranks). They had a huge chance. Even before they came here, they were down 0-2 in the Ashes and levelled it at 2-2. They then plundered Pakistan at their home. But this series loss is something that Ben Stokes and Co could learn from.”

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