Former skipper Michael Vaughan is worried England will become a side that doesn’t win much despite putting in the hard yards, adding that the team’s batting unit needs to strike a balance between playing aggressive and traditional cricket to succeed in India.
Since adopting the ‘Bazball’ approach, England have enjoyed a good run but the same no-holds-barred approach has also cost them several matches and series, including the Ashes last year.
“England have become a difficult team to criticise too much because they are so good to watch. Every game they play has us all absolutely gripped, and they have improved massively under Ben Stokes,” Vaughan wrote in his coulmn for ‘The Telegraph’.
“However, I do worry that they might become a team who do all this great work only to not actually win very much. They didn’t win the Ashes when they should have done and now they have let India back into a series when they still have a load of big names, including Virat Kohli, to come back.” England had taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series in India but Ben Stokes and his men let the hosts draw parity in the second Test as all their batters, barring Zak Crawley, were unable to get big scores.
“England will not win the series if they bat the way they did in Visakhapatnam. I actually think the batsmen need to take a leaf out of the bowlers’ book. With ball in hand, they have been quite traditional at times, aggressive at others, and they have gone up and down the gears in terms of how attacking their fields have been.” England had pulled off a dramatic 28-run win in the series opener on the back of vice-captain Ollie Pope’s epic second-innings knock of 196 and left-arm spinner Tom Hartley’s seven-wicket haul in the second innings.
“The young spinners have been fantastic but, for me, James Anderson’s brilliant performance shows that they have to get another seamer, probably Ollie Robinson, in the side with him.
“The batsmen, meanwhile, look like they only have one way to play. They are in fifth gear from ball one. I don’t mind some of them playing like that because they are better for it.
“But Joe Root should forget it. He has 10,000 Test runs playing like Joe Root. He doesn’t need to be a ‘Bazballer’. It is time for someone in the management to put an arm around Joe and say “please just be yourself”. I think it’s as simple as the fact that he is too wrapped up in ‘Bazball’, the whole ethos of excitement and entertainment.” One of England’s best batters in the format, Root has collected over 10,000 runs (11,468) against his name.
However, the former skipper has struggled for runs in the ongoing series while adopting an aggressive approach.
Root managed scores of 5 and 16 in England’s 106-run loss to India in the second Test. While Jasprit Bumrah picked up his wicket for the eighth time, Ravichandran Ashwin put an end to his frenetic innings in the second essay.
“This is particularly important against spin. Along with Graham Gooch, Root is the best player of spin England has ever produced.
“To see him bat the way he did in the second innings, that’s not Root, and it’s not the way England are going to win in India, just gifting wickets away. I knew something was up when I saw him get off the mark in both innings with reverse sweeps. He doesn’t play like that.
“He gets himself in, then takes risks. Let the firecrackers play like that. Joe has to be the rock, the calming influence while the mad men tee off around him.” Vaughan added.