Ricky Ponting: Bazball designed with Ashes in mind but could backfire on England

By Sports Desk June 09, 2023

Australia great Ricky Ponting has claimed England’s ‘Bazball’ revolution was designed with one eye on the Ashes but believes their plans could “backfire” in the next few weeks.

England’s have undergone a remarkable makeover since the double act of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took charge of the Test side, committing to a fearless brand of ultra-aggressive cricket.

One of the hallmarks of their tenure has been a refusal to look beyond the next game, with Stuart Broad revealing this week that ‘the A word’ had not been mentioned in the dressing room until the end of last week’s Lord’s win over Ireland.

Former Australia captain Ponting, who won the urn five times but also lost three times, finds that hard to believe and thinks this summer’s contest has been on England’s radar right from the start.

“I think the reason that they’ve played this way for the last couple of years is with this series in mind,” he said.

“I think they’re trying to find a brand of cricket that they can play that’s going to win an Ashes series. It’s been refreshing to be honest, to see the win at all cost type of mentality.

“I’m not saying they’re not caring, but they’re not putting that ahead of trying to win a game. I don’t think it’s impossible (that it could work), I think they’ll definitely try it, they’ve made that pretty clear.

“The Australian attack will have to be ready for it, I’ve got a few thoughts on what I’d be doing if I was an Australian fast bowler or if I was talking to the Australian fast bowler about how they should be looking to bowl to the England batsman.”

England skipper Stokes has gone on record with his preference for the five grounds to provide fast, hard pitches and there have been reports that the boundary ropes could be brought in to encourage the rapid scoring rates England have thrived on.

But for Ponting, that could be a double-edged sword and one he feels may well play into Australian hands.

“I’m really intrigued to see what sort of conditions England want to play that style of cricket,” he said

“If they have the flatter wickets with smaller boundaries it might just backfire on the bowling group, so let’s wait and see.

“Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson are going to want pitches that offer them something. If they don’t have those wickets for their bowling attack, let’s see how they go against the Aussie batters.”

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