Next test of Bazball: Will Ben Stokes' men succeed on India's rank turners?

Under the captain-coach duo of Stokes and McCullum, England have beaten New Zealand, South Africa and Australia at home and Pakistan away. The biggest test for Bazball will be on Indian rank turners

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, the Bazball duo (Photo: England Cricket/ Twitter)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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After making a historic comeback from being 0-2 down to level the Ashes series, England have once again proven that Bazball is the best way to play Test cricket and will stay here for long. They could have won the series had rain not washed out the last two days of the fourth Test in Manchester. The next and by far the biggest Test for Bazball will be against India on rank turners in early 2024. 
Post the Ashes, there are no more Test assignments for the English team, and they will next tour India in January 2024. With Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali already announced their retirement, England must find two different bowling options for the four-match series.
More than the bowling, their Bazball style of batting would be under threat. Although they have managed to win 14 out of the 18 Tests in the regime of Stokes and Brendon McCullum, none of those matches were played on rank turners which India dish out these days.  
Will England Bazball innovation pass India's Test?
In their tour of India early this year, Australia tried to play counter-attacking cricket in the second Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. They failed miserably, losing eight wickets for 48 runs and eventually lost the match by six wickets. 
India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels that India now play their Test cricket not on skills but based on conditions.
"No one knows which way the ball is going to turn. Even Joe Root could take 5/8 (Ahmedabad Test of 2021). This is a mockery of Test cricket and hence Bazball won't succeed here. Indian batters too will struggle on those pitches," Harbhajan was quoted as saying to Times of India. 

England have lost the last two series in India 0-4 and 1-3 in 2016-17 and 2020-21. 

England tour of India 2024 schedule 

England tour of India schedule 2024
Match No. Date Venue
1st Test January 25-29 Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium
2nd Test February 02-06 Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy
ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium
3rd Test February 15-19
Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
4th Test February 23-27 JSCA International Stadium Complex
5th Test March 07-11 Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium
Will India ever take the Bazball approach in Test cricket?
R Ashwin, the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests among active spinners, feels that India cannot apply the Bazball approach to their style of play. Comparing India to England, Ashwin said that the English cricket-watching public doesn't criticise even if their batters fail continuously trying to play Bazball. But in India, failure in four innings would mean four players getting dropped for the next Test. 

First Published: Aug 02 2023 | 5:16 PM IST

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