IND v ENG 2024: Ian Botham claims England’s ‘Bazball’ approach brought back crowds to Test matches in India

Both Test matches so far have witnessed a large number of fans in the stands.

The five-Test series is evenly poised at 1-1 at the moment | GettyLegendary all-rounder Ian Botham has credited England’s aggressive ‘Bazball’ approach for the large crowd attending the first two Tests in the stadiums in India.

The ongoing five-Test series between India and England is evenly poised at 1-1 at the moment. While the Three Lions won the series opener in Hyderabad by 28 runs, the hosts bounced back to win the second Test in Vizag by 106 runs.

Both matches have witnessed a big number of fans in the stands, and Botham feels England’s attacking style of play under the regime of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum has infused a new life into Test cricket.

“You just have to look at the crowds. The crowds are now starting to come back to Test cricket,” Botham told ‘SENQ 693’.

“Playing against India 20-30 years ago in India, the grounds were heaving. Suddenly, the IPL came along and so did one-day cricket and the crowds then plummeted. People are now coming back and wanting to see (Bazball),” he added.

Botham also pointed out that England have won more Test matches than losing them after adopting the ‘Bazball’ approach.

“You are entertainers at the end of the day and if you want people to come to the games, you have to entertain. They don’t want to see someone score 1.2 runs per hour, you want to see guys just boss the game.

“You are going to lose one or two games here or there but England have played 15 and won 12. England sells out games across all five days now which was just unheard of. Test cricket is now healthier than it has been for a long time,” he remarked.

Ian Botham, 68, further claimed that other teams are also wanting to play like England.

“It’s rubbed off (onto other teams). Quite often, you see sides who are three or four wickets down and (the bowling team) seem to relax.

“When you’ve got your foot on the throat, you have got to keep it there and do the job. Test cricket has become more impressive which I think is important.”

The third Test match between India and England is slated to be held in Rajkot from February 15.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 07 Feb, 2024

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