Ben Stokes Unrepentant – England’s Bazball Approach Under Scrutiny After Rajkot Loss

Ben Stokes Unrepentant – England’s Bazball Approach Under Scrutiny After Rajkot Loss

England’s cricket team faced a devastating 434-run defeat against India in the third Test in Rajkot, marking their worst loss since 1934.

As the series stands at 2-1 in favor of India, questions loom over England’s performance and strategy.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain addresses pressing concerns and provides insights into the team’s current predicament.

Root and Bairstow Struggles: A Cause for Concern?

Despite the dismal performance in Rajkot, Nasser Hussain dismisses the notion of immediately overhauling the team.

Questions about Joe Root’s frequent dismissals and his dual role as a bowler arise.

Root’s recent struggles and unconventional shot choices, like the reverse-ramp, warrant scrutiny.

Additionally, concerns are raised about Root’s extensive bowling responsibilities in the challenging conditions.

Bairstow’s Form and Experience: Stick or Twist?

The scrutiny extends to Jonny Bairstow, who has been struggling to make significant contributions in the series.

Nasser Hussain advocates for patience, suggesting that Bairstow, with his experience, deserves the opportunity to prove himself in the next two Tests.

The upcoming match in Dharamsala could mark Bairstow’s 100th appearance, adding significance to his potential redemption.

India’s Bowling Strategy and England’s Spin Woes

Nasser responds to questions about India’s effective use of spin-friendly pitches, emphasizing that England’s inexperienced spinners face challenges on turning surfaces.

The discrepancy in control of length between India’s spinners and England’s young pair is highlighted, signaling an area for improvement.

The impact of surface conditions on England’s bowling strategies is acknowledged.

Loyalty to Out-of-Form Players: Balancing Act

Nasser rejects the idea of hasty player changes, emphasizing the importance of giving individuals time to adapt and perform.

Drawing a contrast with the team’s approach in the 80s and 90s, he stresses the need for patience and the potential pitfalls of constantly rotating players. The unique challenges of touring India are acknowledged.

Ben Stokes and DRS Controversies

Ben Stokes’ questioning of DRS (Decision Review System) calls is addressed, with Nasser expressing support for the system.

While acknowledging the fallibility of technology, he emphasizes the value of DRS and umpire’s call.

The recent changes in DRS rules, such as the increased height for lbw decisions, are discussed, highlighting the complexity of officiating in cricket.

Assessment of Ollie Robinson’s Selection

Nasser addresses the question of whether Ollie Robinson’s inclusion was a mistake, citing the need for caution in comparing pitch conditions between the Test series and the England Lions tour.

Ian Bell’s insights on the Lions’ tour pitches are shared, emphasizing the role of seam-friendly conditions. Robinson’s skills as a bowler are acknowledged.

Challenges of Bowling at the Tail and Tailender Strategies

The difficulty of bowling at the tail is explored, with suggestions that extra pace or mystery spin may be effective against lower-order batsmen.

Strategies for dismissing tailenders before bowlers tire are discussed.

The impact of missed catches in the first innings in Rajkot on the competitiveness of the match is acknowledged.

India’s Batting Brilliance and Depth

Nasser applauds the batting brilliance of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz Khan, highlighting India’s batting depth.

The emergence of Jaiswal, who started from Mumbai’s maidans, is celebrated as a testament to India’s cricketing talent.

The depth in India’s batting lineup serves as a learning opportunity for England.

Preparing for the Unknown: Ranchi’s Limited Test History

The challenge of preparing for a Test match at a venue with limited historical data, such as Ranchi, is addressed.

Nasser recommends consulting local experts and avoiding preconceived judgments about pitch conditions.

The importance of seeking advice from experienced consultants like Dinesh Karthik is highlighted.

Toss Influence and the Proposal to Abolish It

The toss’s impact on match results, especially the advantage of batting first, is acknowledged.

However, Nasser expresses hesitance towards abolishing the toss, citing instances where teams have overcome toss-related challenges.

The emphasis remains on teams executing the basics of the game effectively.

Nasser concludes by expressing sympathy for his colleague Bumble, who contracted Covid and will miss commentating on the fourth Test.

Well wishes are extended to Bumble, reflecting camaraderie among cricket personalities.


Nasser Hussain’s responses provide a candid and insightful analysis of England’s challenges in the Test series against India.

The delicate balance between patience and accountability, addressing spin-related issues, and learning from India’s batting depth are essential considerations as England looks ahead to future matches.

The unpredictability of cricket and the ever-evolving dynamics of the game underscore the need for adaptability and strategic refinement.

TDPel Media

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