London, July 8 (IANS) Since June this year, cricket enthusiasts in England have been going gaga over Bazball, the term coined for the Test side’s transformational display in the longest format of the game ever since Brendon McCullum took over as England’s coach to revive the side’s fortunes.
Since McCullum took charge of the Test side, England have looked a completely different outfit, defeating New Zealand 3-0 at home with successful chases of 277, 299 and 296. In July, they took it a notch higher, chasing down a mammoth 378, their highest-ever chase in the format, to win the rescheduled fifth Test against India at Edgbaston, raising the decibel level of Bazball higher than ever.
Now, McCullum, the former New Zealand skipper, has spoken out on the Bazball frenzy, derived from his nickname ‘Baz’, calling it “silly term” while responding to Australia batter Steve Smith’s comments over sustainability of England’s attacking approach in Test cricket.
“I saw those (comments) flick up on one of the feeds somewhere. It’s quite right, it is going to be a big challenge when we take on Australia. It’s going to challenge our method and it’s going to challenge what we’re capable of achieving and that’s pretty exciting I reckon. Isn’t that what the game’s all about?
“Is to sort of reinvigorate yourself and then be confronted against the very best. I do believe that both New Zealand and India are two very, very good cricket sides as well. Australia is a different kind of challenge because of the history of the Ashes and the rivalry which exists there,” said McCullum to former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on SEN WA Breakfast show.
Talking about England and Bazball, McCullum remarked, “I’m sure that our guys will try and still maintain a really positive approach. I think the real key is not just the crash and burn if we look at the approach of how the guys have done it.
“That’s why I don’t really like that silly term that people are throwing out there, because there’s actually quite a bit of thought that goes into how the guys manufacture their performances and when they put pressure on bowlers and which bowlers they put pressure on. There’s also times where they’ve absorbed pressure beautifully as well.”
England’s next Test assignment is a three-match series at home against South Africa in August. But with Ashes coming next year, McCullum acknowledged that Australia will be a challenge for them. At the same time, he insisted that he is not looking too far ahead.
“It’s one that’s on the calendar for everyone. We know that’s probably the ultimate challenge for us. We’ll deal with that in time I guess. In this job you plan as if you’ll live forever and live as if you’ll die tomorrow. You want to make sure you enjoy the ride. I keep preaching to the boys about being where your feet are and to try to immerse yourself in the here and now.
“You take your eye off anything and teams will be able to make sure you look a bit silly. Our focus will be on South Africa for now but at some point in time, that will be a series which we (focus on). Test cricket needs the Ashes to be strong and competitive. You’d say the last one wasn’t so that’s the task for us in time. Give us a few months to be able to get our things together and we might be able to take on the great Australian side.”