Off The Field

Joe Root had a fine record playing normally: Ian Chappell urges England star to drop Bazball philosophy

Written by Abhishek Patil

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has recommended Joe Root to abandon the much-hyped Bazball batting technique, citing the England star’s excellent record while playing in the normal way.

Root was dismissed while playing a reverse-lap shot off Jasprit Bumrah in the first innings of the Rajkot Test, sparking an English collapse in the recently concluded third Test against India. With England comfortably placed at 224 for 2, Root’s dismissal saw them lose their last eight wickets for 95 runs, being bowled out for 319 and giving India a first-innings lead of 126 runs.

“Root had a bloody fine record playing normally, and he was a quick scorer playing normally. I don’t see why he’s trying to change things drastically, and I’ve never believed you should play premeditated shots,” Chappell said.

Contrary to popular opinion, Root has averaged above 50, a bit higher than his overall average of 49.32, since Brendon McCullum took over as head coach in mid-2022 and instituted the Bazball technique of attacking batting. However, the star batter has struggled significantly in the ongoing series against India, managing only 77 runs at an average of less than 13 in six innings. England trail the five-match series 1-2 following back-to-back losses in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.

Ian Chappell backed the idea of top-order hitters taking an aggressive approach, but he believed it should be done according to the playing conditions and the bowler in operation. While England have won 14 of 21 Tests since the implementation of Bazball strategy, the tourists have experienced many batting collapses due to dubious shot selection.

“You can’t always do it – it’s got to be according to the conditions and also who’s bowling. Some bowlers you can score off a lot quicker than others, but when a really good bowler is bowling a good spell, you’ve got to be prepared to try and battle it out and think to yourself ‘Well, when he goes off, it’ll get a bit easier. You’re always trying to score runs – that’s got to be your prime aim. But, you’ve also got to realize some conditions, against some bowlers you can score quicker than others,” he added.

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Abhishek Patil