'Got carried away' - Ricky Ponting's brutal verdict on Bazball
Ricky Ponting was critical of England's 'Bazball' tactics in the aftermath of the Ashes 2023 loss. With Australia retaining the urn following the draw in Manchester in the fourth Test, leading England to frustration over errors made in losses in Edgbaston and Lord's earlier in the series, the batting legend thought the hosts "got carried away" with their ultraggressive ways.
Ponting recalled England's highly ambitious and criticised declaration on Day 1 of the Birmingham Test and their poor batting display in the following Test at Lord's to firm up his point, insisting that the three lions needed to be more pragmatic in their outlook and strategic execution.
Ben Stokes decided to call his troops back at 393/8 despite a well-set Joe Root still batting in the middle alongside a defiant English tail with the intention to give his new-ball seamers two bites at the cherry in Edgbaston. It hurt him ultimately as Australia managed to close in on the home team's total and managed to clinch a thrilling win on Day 5.
Rallying on the momentum from there, Australia came out firing with the ball at Lord's and tamed the 'Bazball' ploy with the bouncer ploy to finish with a 43-run triumph, which could've been higher if not for Stokes' rearguard century on Day 5.
Ponting's no-hold verdict on 'Bazball'
Consecutive defeats at the start of the series meant that despite their resounding three-day win in Headingley, the rain-marred draw at Old Trafford took England's hopes of regaining the urn out of equation. The result helped Australia stretch their years of holding the urn to a decade, as England have now gone without a series win against their arch-rivals since 2015.
"Some of those decisions – the Edgbaston declaration, Lord's first innings batting – I think they got a little bit carried away with it then," Ponting told 'The ICC Review'.
"One thing that hasn't probably been spoken enough about though is … they have spoken about the right time and the right place to play that brand of cricket and they want to have aggressive cricketers and attacking cricketers, but they want to have smart cricketers as well," he added.
Ponting also deemed the topsy-turvey nature of the series with no side completely dominating reminiscent of the legendary 2005 Ashes played in the UK, which is etched in fans' hearts and memories as the series which reinvigorated interest in Test match cricket by capturing their imagination all over the world.