'Would Indian fans back our players the same way?' - R Ashwin on why India can't adopt 'Bazball' tactics
Ever since England have employed ultraggressive 'Bazball' tactics to revive their Test match fortunes under skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, there have been suggestions for the Indian team to also rebrand and transform their approach to the longest format. But premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin explained why it is culturally impossible.
Ashwin reinforced the stark difference in the level of backing English cricketers and their team tend to enjoy in whatever path they embark upon and tactics they choose to imbibe on the playing field as opposed to constantly criticised Indian players, who would get asked to be dropped if they got playing adventurous strokes.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin stressed how unique England and Indian cricket set-ups are culturally, with the latter operating under greater persistent pressure and scrutiny of the fans on the outside who demand extremely high playing standards and can't stand any slip-ups from their team.
The modern-day legend emphasized his point in view of India's ongoing transition phase as a Test match side and said if an Indian youngster played the attacking strokes that England's rising middle-order batter Harry Brook does, and gets out, he will be heavily scrutinised and asked to be dropped.
Ashwin on why India can't 'Bazball'
Ashwin addressed the question of 'what if India played Bazball?' and gave the answer of an experienced head who has seen how the fan reactions tend to operate on the extreme within the Indian cricketing system, having received an abundance of criticism and trolling on his bad days.
"We are playing Test cricket really well. But we're going to go through a transition very soon. And things won't be easy during that phase. There will be few issues here and there. But let us assume India adapt 'Bazball' during that transition phase. Let us assume a player throws his bat at everything like Harry Brook and gets out and we lose two Test matches," Ashwin said.
"What will we do? Will we back Bazball and the players? No. We will drop at least four players from our playing XI. That's how culture has always been. So we can't copy others' style of play just because it works for them. It works for them (England) because their management is fully in with this style of play and the selectors back the players to play this way."
Much needed message to all hindsight merchants here pic.twitter.com/U4SmEXNS7p— Sunil (@Hitting_Middle) August 1, 2023
Extending his point to the looming 50-overs World Cup, Ashwin urged the fans to create a positive atmosphere for the players so that they don't hesitate to play a short or bowl a particular delivery under pressure. Ashwin said it would help the side when they come face to face with another knock out fixture during the tournament.
"In fact, even their (England's) crowd and the Test match-watching public are backing the team in their process. But we don't do that. So the least I am asking is when we get to the 2023 World Cup, let us send the team with full of positivity," Ashwin said.
"That will be my only request. (Create) as much positivity as possible. Winning a World Cup is not easy, guys, just because we shall drop a certain player of pick a certain player, we can't win. All of us are hindsight kings. If we lose a match, we will immediately go, 'if we had this player we would've won'. It's not that easy, hindsights don't work here."
"We have qualified for the semifinals of all the major events. (Yes) on that day, we've not been good enough. What we can do to be good enough on that day? So we need lots of positivity (from fans), guys. Players should not fear what if they get out playing a certain shot."