India vs England Test: Intrigued by Bazball, Ravichandran Ashwin says, ‘England team to beat’
Ashwin lauded England’s ‘exciting brand of cricket’ but backed India to provide a good contest based on the team’s consistency and success
Shots have been fired even though there’s still a good five months left before the England team visits India for a five-match Test series. Indian spin legend Ravichandran Ashwin in a recent interview has named the Brendon McCullum-coached side as the ‘team to beat’. India vs England Test series will be the one to watch. Ben Stokes-led side has revolutionised Test cricket with an aggressive approach. But Bazball will face its real test on spin-friendly Indian pitches. Will it work?
Talking to Times Of India, the veteran off-spinner has responded to England’s aggressive approach. While he has accepted the challenge, he has become a fan of the new exciting Test cricket.
“England are playing a very exciting brand of cricket that has excited a lot of people around the world. On the other hand, we have been extremely consistent and successful in recent years,” Ravichandran Ashwin said.
Ashwin lauded England’s ‘exciting brand of cricket’. But he has backed India to provide a good contest based on the team’s consistency and success in the red ball format in the recent past.
“I cannot wait for them to come here. I don’t think they are going to take one foot backward. They will continue to play the way they play. It wouldn’t be an overstatement if I say that England is possibly the team to beat at this point,” said Ashwin.
The off-spinner also believes England is not going to shy away from playing with an attacking mindset. He claimed that he ‘cannot wait for them to come’ to India next year.
England struggled against Australia in the 2021 Ashes, losing the tournament 4-0 against the Steve Smith-led side. Their batting collapse continued throughout the series, which prompted many to believe the England team was lacking in identity.
Then came McCullum, and England started looking much more threatening. McCullum introduced England to a fearless brand of cricket which emphasised on taking positive decisions in attack and defence, whether batting or in the field.
Under the NZ wicketkeeper-batter’s tutelage, England travelled to Pakistan and completed their first ever whitewash of Pakistan in a home series.
In the 2022 Ashes, England came from 2-0 down to draw the series 2-2, winning the final test match by 49 runs.
Test matches, which seemed to go on a slower pace, transformed overnight with the introduction of ‘Bazball’ and the world took notice. The fast-paced approach worked wonders for the England team as other teams wondered whether it could be emulated.
However, it remains to be seen whether this ‘exciting’ approach works for England when they visit India next year. Experts opine the England batters might struggle to keep up the high tempo in slow Indian pitches and against India’s top-quality spinners.
‘Bazball’ or not, England’s tour to India next year is surely going to be the one to look forward to.