Gavaskar’s Unique Take on England’s Baseball Dominance

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IND vs ENG: England will start their series in Hyderabad, followed by games in Vishakhapatnam, Rajkot, and Ranchi, and play the final Test in Dharamsala.

Since its debut in 2022, Bazball has revolutionized Test cricket, injecting a dynamic flair into the traditional format of the game. While a precise definition of Bazball remains elusive, the term, coined by an ESPN journalist, draws its inspiration from Brendon McCullum’s enduring nickname. McCullum assumed the role of England’s head coach in May 2022.

Bazball is essentially a mindset that advocates an aggressive style of cricket, both in batting and fielding. This approach has proven highly lucrative for England on their home turf. However, as Ben Stokes and his squad brace themselves for the formidable challenge of a five-match Test series in India, cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar asserts that India possesses the perfect antidote in the form of ‘Viratball.’

India is set to face England in a comprehensive five-match series commencing on January 25 in Hyderabad. This series marks India’s third engagement in the ongoing WTC cycle, where they currently occupy the second spot in the points table following a 1-0 victory in West Indies and a 1-1 draw in South Africa.

It also serves as their first encounter in the red-ball format since the rescheduled fifth Test in 2022, which England won, resulting in a 2-2 draw. India had previously seized a commanding 2-1 lead in 2021 after two historic victories.

Virat Kohli emerges as a player of significant interest in this upcoming match, following an impressive performance against the Proteas, where he amassed 172 runs in four innings, including a half-century. Kohli particularly relishes facing the England attack, having accumulated 1991 runs in 28 matches against them, marking the second-highest tally he has achieved against a single opponent in Tests.

Speaking to Star Sports in anticipation of the series, Gavaskar highlighted that the home team possesses ‘Viratball’ as a counter-strategy to England’s Bazball, underscoring Kohli’s exceptional conversion rate in the format.

‘Yeah, conversion means having more hundreds than fifties. With Kohli, he has a similar number of hundreds and fifties, indicating a strong conversion rate. The way he’s been batting, his movement looks good. With the form that he’s in, we have Viratball to counter Bazball,’ remarked Gavaskar.

Gavaskar expressed keen interest in observing how England’s innovative Test cricket approach fares against Indian spinners, particularly Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who together boast 500 wickets in 49 matches. ‘England has adopted a new approach in Test cricket in the last 1-2 years. It’s an aggressive approach where batters look to attack. They just want to play attacking cricket no matter the situation. It’ll be interesting to see if this approach works against the spinners of India,’ Gavaskar added.