KL Rahul looks to borrow Bazball and give it an Indian touch
KL Rahul gave his views on 'Bazball' - a term used widely in cricketing discourse these days on the back of England's ultraggressive approach with the bat in hand under skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.
As the three lions continue to transform the fashion in which Test cricket has been historically played, India's stand-in captain said before the Chattogram Test series opener versus Bangladesh that the ploy is "really, really exciting" to watch.
The Indian opener revealed he has been closely following England's games since the start of the Stokes-McCullum regime, wherein they look to destroy opposition field-settings and bowling plans by forcing them to err in their lines and lengths.
In the recent Test match in Rawalpindi, England scored 657 runs in the first-innings and backed it up with 264/7 declared. On both occasions they went at well above 6 runs an over, also giving their bowling unit the time required to dismiss Pakistan twice.
KL Rahul on 'Bazball'
Speaking to the press prior to the Test series opener versus the Bangla Tigers, KL Rahul agreed the 'Bazball' upholds an "exciting" brand of cricket. But the Indian opening batter also said it would be impractical for other teams to follow suit for a variety of reasons.
"England’s approach is really, really exciting to watch. I’ve been watching the games and it’s really exciting," said Rahul, as England went on to also hammer Pakistan in the following Test in Multan and reached an impregnable 2-0 ahead in the three-match series across the Indian border.
"That’s worked for them but each team has its own way. All teams can learn a thing or two from teams that are doing well, but you can’t always have the same approach. You’ve got to adjust to the conditions."
For Rahul, the impressive aspect of England's approach is that at no stage do they look "reckless" with the bat and yet maintain high-end strike rates. In a larger comment on the world game, he stressed there is no set means to play cricket anymore, with teams swiftly adjusting to the challenges at hand.
"I don’t think it’s reckless cricket," he said. "They have a certain mindset, they’ve thought about it and they back their players. The players are doing a job for the team and when you’re doing a job, it doesn’t really matter how you’ve done it. Ultimately, your aim is to get the job done for your country."
"Cricket is evolving - there is no set way of how the game needs to be played. It’s up to the players in the middle to assess what’s the best thing to do for the team, and as leaders you need to back them."
When asked if India might take inspiration from 'Bazball' and try to marry England's aggressive means with their longstanding style of play as they enter a critical two-match Test series, where they must fetch in all 24 points to keep their hopes of reaching the World Test Championship (WTC) final alive.
KL Rahul said the idea would be to play "aggressive" cricket without losing their guards and the intention to seize the right moments and win crucial sessions of play - a pragmatic approach required as India resume their WTC campaign after six months of sustained white-ball cricket.
"You won’t go in with any set mindset. You look at numbers and take certain pointers from that. We’ll go out there, try and be aggressive and try and get a result."
"The game is played over five days so it’ll be important to break it down into smaller targets and try and achieve that. Every session the demand of the team will be different, so we’ll assess that. One thing is for sure, you’ll see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side," he added.