Nasser Hussain urges Bazballing England to play smart

As the action shifts to Ranchi for the fourth Test between England and India, former England captain Nasser Hussain has emphasized the importance of adaptability and smart cricket for the English team.

After a thrilling victory in the series opener in Hyderabad, England faced heavy defeats in the subsequent matches in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot in the second and third Tests respectively, highlighting the need for strategic adjustments in their approach. The visitors’ struggles are mainly due to their batting unit not being able to capitalize on opportunities.

Hussain spoke about adaptability in Test cricket, particularly in challenging conditions like those in India. He pointed out that success depends on the ability to adjust to the ever-fluid state of pitches and convert starts into significant and meaningful contributions.

You can’t just fall back on the old this is the way we play mantra: Nasser Hussain

“You can’t just fall back on the old ‘this is the way we play’ mantra, because Test cricket is all about adapting to conditions – especially in India, where the nature of the pitch can change almost overnight during the course of a five-day Test. If you get in, you need to make it count. Look at the first three Tests: England won the first after Ollie Pope’s magnificent 196, before India hit back with successive double-centuries from Yashasvi Jaiswal and 131 from Rohit Sharma,” Nasser Hussain wrote in a Daily Mail column.

Drawing parallels to past experiences, Hussain recalls England’s performances in the Ashes, where they bounced back from a 0-2 deficit to draw the the five-match Test series.

“They’ve done it before. Think back to the Ashes, where they became better at playing the short ball after that hook-happy collapse at Lord’s. Bazball, as they keep telling us, is about smart cricket, not headless cricket. They need to prove that point again now,” added Hussain.

Addressing the struggles of Jonny Bairstow, Hussain stated that if the batter can navigate through the initial challenges posed by the Indian bowlers, then he will have a quite a certain chance to succeed.

“For Bairstow, the key – as it is for so many visiting batters in India – is to get through those first 20-30 balls when it’s turning and Ravindra Jadeja is spearing them into your pads, making it tough to sweep. If he can do that, he can be destructive, but he has to give himself a chance. Perhaps the fact that he has a point to prove will bring out the best in him,” wrote Hussain.