Back to  Cricket  news
Jan 26, 2023, 9:00:00 PM


Michael Vaughan, a former England captain, claims that the partnership of current red-ball captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum forever altered how the game is played and viewed in Test matches. Another former England captain, Nasser Hussain, remarked on the incredible results that can be achieved when the "fear of failure" is taken out of the players' heads by the team's management. Vaughan even went so far as to say that Pat Cummins and the Australian team will have "sleepless nights" after England scored 500+ in just 75 overs on the first day of the Rawalpindi Test against Pakistan.

The two have established a setting that promotes positive and aggressive cricket and seeks to eliminate the stigma of making mistakes. And Stokes had claimed that the 41-year-old McCullum was the "ideal guy" to assist him in realizing his England vision when the name was presented to him as a potential coach.

BEFORE BazzBall 

They were staring down the barrel with only one victory in their previous seventeen Tests before he arrived. And the worst was last year's 4-0 Ashes loss to bitter rivals Australia. After the team's disastrous season, various changes were made, including hiring McCullum and replacing the captain. After all-rounder Ben Stokes took over for Joe Root, the Stokes-McCullum era began.

The T-20 Test

Using a Twenty20 batting format in a Test match is nothing new for England. There has been a noticeable shift in England's approach to Test cricket since Ben Stokes took over as captain and former New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum took over as coach. Cricket experts are starting to worry if Ben Stokes and the English squad have permanently altered the format of the Test match.

Start of A Legacy?

Brendon McCullum's tenure as England's Test squad coach has lasted six months. It's remarkable how quickly he was able to change the English squad. The English team had been struggling before McCullum's arrival. Four times in a row, he lost a Test series. The journey through India the year before was the first step. India swept England in the Test series during that trip. As a result, England was doomed to drop the home-and-home Test series with New Zealand. Later, Australia was swept in the Ashes by a 4-0. West Indies didn't leave any stones unturned, and they did the job.

In the third and final match of the three-match series, the Caribbean squad defeated England by a score of 1-0. Having led England to defeat after defeat, Joe Root stepped down as captain. The role of captain was entrusted to Ben Stokes, while McCullum took on his first coaching role with an International Test side. He had previously declared his ambition to become a coach on the exam. The English hosted the Kiwis for the match. The series was a 3-0 sweep for England. Even more impressive than this was how he won the series, which caught everyone by surprise.

England's team was completely revamped when McCullum took over for six months. Nottingham hosted England and New Zealand for the second Test of this series. In the fourth innings, England scored 299 runs to win the test. It will be difficult for any team to win on the last day's wicket. However, England reached their target with 5 wickets down and a run rate of 6 runs per over in just 50 overs. Johnny Bairstow (136 runs off 92 balls) and Ben Stokes (75 not out off 70 balls) contributed significantly to their team's total score. Baseball cricket was born from this contest in England.

Once again displaying a baseball-like approach to cricket, England successfully chased down 296 runs while losing only three wickets in the second Test. It's arguable that any team, not just England, can perform like this on extremely rare occasions. To answer this, England chased 378 runs in 77 overs in the fourth innings of the following Test against India.

Time, Changes.

McCullum was the pioneer in curing the England Test squad of its identity crisis and fear of failure. For the team, he quickly added the player whose aggressive style of play was most in line with his conception of baseball and cricket. This is evidenced by the return to the Test team of Harry Brook and Ben Duckett after a six-year absence. No one, not even the captain and coach, can expect a player to bat with the level of fearlessness that these two displayed in the Rawalpindi Test against Pakistan.

Both Brook and Duckett made centuries in their respective second tests, with Brook's being the third-fastest century for England. McCullum has also moved Oli Pope to the third spot in the order because of his strong batting. He is widely expected to succeed Andrew Strauss as England's Test captain. The players aren't worried about losing their starting spot if they don't play aggressive cricket.

Why is the Duo so Special?

There have been cricketers like this throughout history, each contributing to a new perspective on the sport. And McCullum is included in that group. Baseball has made him famous now. During his time as New Zealand captain, he frequently employed this aggressive play style. He continued to bat the same way even after being named captain. He led New Zealand to the 2015 ODI World Cup final. McCullum's playing style remained the same even during that event.

To him, fierce competition on the field is a source of inspiration. Similar qualities can be found in Ben Stokes. In the T20 World Cup final, Stokes proved his worth. In such a case, the union of two like-minded individuals has dramatically shifted England's Test team.

This new cricketing approach by England under McCullum and Stokes soon made a buzz in the cricketing fraternity, especially among commentators, pundits, and social media, finally being given the name ‘BazBall.’