Home Cricket The Ashes: The Continuation of England’s ‘Bazball’ Mentality

The Ashes: The Continuation of England’s ‘Bazball’ Mentality

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England's Test Cricket Culture Change

The 2017-18 Ashes tour did not feature Stokes due to a charge of affray following an incident at a Bristol nightclub. After being acquitted in court, Stokes made a triumphant return to the team, contributing to their 2019 World Cup win, and was appointed England Test team captain in April 2022.

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Despite facing defeat, Ben Stokes maintained an unwavering façade.

“We are extremely excited about our approach to the game and its perfect alignment with our current situation. We need to secure these three matches to regain the urn,” the England captain said following a 43-run loss in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Sunday.

Stokes is convinced that the key to overcoming Australia’s 2-0 series lead resides in mental fortitude.

“We are committed to providing all players with the optimal environment to be clear-headed about their performance objectives,” he shared.

However, not everyone agrees with England’s approach. Past England captains, Michael Vaughan and Michael Atherton, criticized the team’s tactics, with Vaughan labeling the first innings at Lords as “foolish” and Atherton deeming it neither brave nor bold, but simply “bad cricket”.

Stokes and Test coach Brendon McCullum have cultivated a team culture that embraces risk-taking, which isn’t surprising considering their leadership style since May 2022. This shift has witnessed England go from winning one in 17 Test matches to achieving 11 victories in their last 15 encounters. This fresh approach may even influence future cricket strategies.

The 2022 Test side’s run rate marked a 112-year high for the game. Fans around the world have been enchanted by this electrifying style exhibited at Edgbaston and Lord’s.

Yet, beneath the captivating soundbites and inspiring leaders lies a deeper narrative.

The transformation of the team has been fueled equally by the contributions of both visible leaders and behind-the-scenes players. These unsung heroes, along with a departure from a rigid, disciplinarian past, have resulted in an exhilarating, novel culture set to face its most formidable test in the next three matches.

Observing from behind the scenes is Jon Marzetti, whose workday would be the envy of any cricket enthusiast. As a sports psychologist, Marzetti spends most of his time on the training pitch, engaged in discussions about performance elements such as concentration and confidence, or consulting the coaching staff on effective communication strategies.

Marzetti’s arrival at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was concurrent with Stokes and McCullum taking charge, facilitating a reshaping of the Test set-up.

“We were able to brainstorm the desired team culture, the cricket style we want to project, and how we want our cricket to impact others,” shared Marzetti.

Marzetti’s role is multi-dimensional: from supporting leaders like Stokes and McCullum to facilitating the transition of players from secondary teams to the Test level, and most notably addressing mental health challenges associated with cricket’s intense travel and time away from home.

England’s focus is more on the team experience rather than pure results, a philosophy familiar to Marcus Trescothick, England’s current batting coach. He has personally grappled with anxiety and depression, yet his struggle doesn’t deter him from partaking in the new, improved England set-up.

The change in England’s team culture is underpinned by individuals like Ahmun, Trescothick, and Marzetti, along with the influence of Stokes and included 3 responses along the way here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about England’s Test Cricket Culture Change

Who is currently the captain of the England Test cricket team?

Ben Stokes is the current captain of the England Test cricket team as of April 2022.

What was the notable change in England’s Test team’s performance after Stokes became the captain?

Under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Test coach Brendon McCullum, England’s performance improved significantly, going from one victory in 17 Test matches to 11 wins in their last 15 games. The new approach was termed ‘Bazball’ and was seen as a potential redefinition of the game.

Who is Jon Marzetti and what is his role?

Jon Marzetti is a sports psychologist who plays a crucial role in the England cricket team. His work includes speaking to players about their focus and confidence, advising the coaching team, and assisting in psychological preparation for players, especially those transitioning from the Lions team to the Test level.

What is the main shift in focus in the England Test cricket team’s approach?

The team’s approach shifted from a ‘win at all costs’ mentality to focusing on the enjoyment and experience of being part of the team. This change is credited to Stokes and McCullum, who emphasized the importance of relationships and the style of play over purely results-focused strategy.

What are the roles of Marcus Trescothick and Rob Ahmun in the England team?

Marcus Trescothick, England’s current batting coach and former opening batter, helps players focus on enjoying the game rather than fearing failure. Rob Ahmun, former strength and conditioning specialist, is now head of the medicine and science department in the team, focusing on physical preparation and fitness.

How have England’s chances in the Ashes series been affected by this new approach?

The new approach has led to mixed opinions, especially given that England is trailing 2-0 in the current Ashes series. While some question the lessening focus on results, Stokes and McCullum stand by their approach, noting that changing it would render their past efforts pointless.

More about England’s Test Cricket Culture Change

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Dave_CricketFan July 5, 2023 - 5:59 am

Well, Stokesy and McCullum have really shaken things up, ain’t they? not sure if it’s gonna pay off, but I’m tuning in to see for sure…

Bob_TrustTheProcess July 5, 2023 - 2:44 pm

we’re playing the long game here, guys! gotta trust the process, can’t expect instant results, it’s all about the culture shift

AshesLover92 July 5, 2023 - 7:02 pm

I gotta admit, I love the more relaxed vibe from the team now, makes the game feel less stressful and more fun to watch.

Jen_SportEnthusiast July 5, 2023 - 7:28 pm

I’m not convinced about the changes, seems like they’re missing the point of competitive sport a bit? Isn’t the aim to win?

Frankie_CricketOldTimer July 5, 2023 - 8:02 pm

Not a fan of all these changes, cricket used to be simple, now it’s all psychology and mind games. just hit the ball for gods sake!

TestMatchTommy July 5, 2023 - 9:46 pm

Sure, we’re behind in the series but who knows, maybe this “Bazball” thing will pay off. I’m excited to see what happens next.


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