‘Can’t Mix Entertainment With Stupidity’: Michael Vaughan Criticises England’s Bazball Approach In 2nd Ashes Test

After seeing the team's downfall in the first innings of the second test of Ashes 2023, Michael Vaughan criticized England's ‘Bazball’ style of play.

He urged his home side to be more practical. His thoughts surfaced while speaking to BBC Sport's Ashes Daily. The former British skipper said that England shouldn’t mix entertaining gameplay with foolishness. 

In this match, the fans witnessed an England team that went out to bat and played with tremendous pleasure for the first 188 runs. Both the openers were donning the visitor’s bowlers as they played sublime cricketing strokes. 

Michael Vaughan’s match analysis remarked that the Australian bowlers, although they came with an excellent balance,  gave ample scoring opportunities both on the front foot and the back foot. But, according to him, the English batters did not acknowledge the upper hand. They simply kept on using the 'Bazball' approach. This resulted in England's batsmen falling cheaply while trying to defend in the deep against Australia's short-ball blitz.

What’s With the Term ‘Bazball’

According to the English media, the Bazball philosophy places a strong focus on making positive choices, both while batting and fielding. Initially, this principle was implemented while participating in T20 and One Day International matches. 

Eventually, England averaged 4.65 runs per over until June 2023, a run rate which is much higher compared to the next-highest in test match history. Also, this tactic allowed the side to declare its innings early because of a higher scoring rate.

Coming back to this match, England's openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett got the hosts off to a solid start, having them sitting at 188-1 at one stage. However, the Australian spinners took control of the overcast conditions at Lords on the second day's morning. The Aussies quickly dispatched the final six England wickets for just 47 runs.

Vaughan’s Take on England’s Unique Style of Play

Michael Vaughan, who formerly led England to many Ashes victories, is not pleased with how Bazball has been played out so far in 2023’s series. 

England got a fine start to their first innings, reaching a blistering 188 for 1 in response to Australia's 416. This scenario easily gave off the impression that England was set to defeat Australia. Unfortunately, the hosts fell 91 runs behind after losing three wickets in the last session of Day 2, followed by a major collapse on Day 3. 

Another former England captain, David Gower, concurred with Vaughan's assessment of the loss of wickets. He desired England to smartly regulate their innings under the Bazball format. Otherwise, it can be a failed mission with batters always racing down the pitch amidst playing good strokes and eventually missing out on a crucial knock.

On seeing Michael Vaughan’s video after the Day 3 of Test 2, you will find him urging the English team management in planning another way to reduce the slow-over rate issue. 

During the latter overs of Day 2, the ball was doing nothing. Thus, Australian bowlers then came up with shorter deliveries to explore the remaining options. Next, according to Vaughan, what followed was utter foolishness. The senior batters should have handled the situation more responsibly, especially when the hosts were already trailing 0-1 in the Ashes, he added. 

Is Michael Vaughan’s Test records that impressive?
Yes, indeed it is. The former British batsman had scored 5719 Test runs altogether in 147 innings. His long-format career flaunts 18 centuries and half-centuries each with an excellent average of 41.4.
When was Michael Vaughan’s debut match?
Vaughan got the national team cap during a Test match held against South Africa in July 1999. 
When did Michae Vaughan retire?
Michael Vaughan confirmed his immediate retirement in June 2009 after he realized that his inclusion in Yorkshire County’s squad was resulting in a lack of opportunities for the budding cricketers.