ANI Photo | “Thrill and frustrating in equal measure”: Nasser on ‘Bazball’, Joe Root

Following the end of day three play of the third Test between India and England, former England skipper Nasser Hussain said that Joe Root’s dismissal while playing a reverse scoop reflects what team’s highly-attacking, positive and result-oriented ‘Bazball’ approach is- “thrilling and frustrating in equal measure”.
After opener Ben Duckett slammed a century on day two, England batting could not capitalise on the fine start and lost their eight wickets for just 95 runs. A key highlight of England’s collapse was Root losing his wicket while attempting a reverse scoop. Later, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill reached their century and half-century respectively, to end the day on a high and Three Lions endured another frustrating day despite a fine start.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Hussain said that people felt that Root does not sit suitable with England’s ‘Bazball’ school of cricket, but the average of 51 under skipper Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, a rise from his average of 49 proves it wrong. So, it is England’s approach that gives both thrill and frustration in equal parts.
“After the first two Tests against India, we said that Root might not be suited to Bazball. But the stats say otherwise. He averages 51 under this regime and he averaged 49 before that. His dismissal sort of sums up where we are with Bazball. It will thrill and frustrate in equal measure,” said Hussain.
“When he is playing those reverse-scoops to the first ball of the day of an Ashes Test, we all jump up and applaud. When he does it to Bumrah here and gets out, we all say ‘what a disgrace’,” he added.
The former skipper said that Root will look at the timing of his shot, especially in the absence of veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is out of this test due to personal reasons. Hussain said that ‘Bazball’ is about soaking pressure as well and Root should have taken the game deep and used the shot later.
“One thing Joe will look at is the timing of that shot. Ashwin was not there, India are down a bowler; Ravindra Jadeja is playing off the back of an injury; Jasprit Bumrah is playing three Tests in a row and there is talk of him needing a rest. Bazball is about being attacking but it is also about soaking up pressure. Get Bumrah into his second or third spell, take it deep and then play the shot later in the day,” said Hussain.
Hussain backed Root to assess his dismissal and make a comeback, “That is what makes him a great player. He will come back. He will be absolutely fine,” concluded Hussain.
This tour continues to be a disappointing affair for England’s premier batter, who has managed just 29, 2, 5, 16 and 18 in five innings so far.
Since his double century, a knock of 218 in the first Chennai Test during the last tour to India back in February 2021, Root has had an abysmal record in Asian conditions. In 17 Test innings played in Asia since then, Root has scored just 345 runs at an average of 20.29, with just one half-century. His best score has been 73.
Root though has a fine overall record in Asia, scoring 3,843 runs in Asia across 70 international matches at an average of 46.30, with six centuries and 23 fifties in 92 innings. His best score is 228. In 26 Tests in Asia since his debut in 2012, Root has made 2,187 runs in 26 matches and 50 innings at an average of 45.56. with five centuries and 10 fifties. His best score is 228.
Root has been dismissed by Bumrah three times out of five in this series. Overall in 21 innings, Root has scored 254 runs against Bumrah at an average of 28.22. Bumrah has dismissed Root nine times.
A key question arising from Root’s poor recent shot selection is if the aggressive and unorthodox cricketing shots have led to Root’s decline in Tests?
The numbers do not suggest so. In 21 Tests played under skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum’s leadership, Root has made 1,597 runs at an average of 51.51, with five centuries and seven fifties in 36 innings. His best score is 176.
Coming to the match, England were bundled out for 319 in their first innings in reply to India’s 445. Opener Ben Duckett (153 in 151 balls, with 23 fours and two sixes) led the way for England, but besides skipper Ben Stokes (41 in 89 balls, with six fours) and Ollie Pope (39 in 55 balls, with five fours and a six), none of the batters could stick around and play a long inning.
Mohammad Siraj (4/84), Ravindra Jadeja (2/51) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/77) contributed to the bowling attack while Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin took a wicket each.
India started with a 126-run lead. Yashasvi Jaiswal came up with another stellar knock in the second innings and scored a century while Shubman Gill scored another half-century, ending India’s day at 196/2 and a 322-run lead. (ANI)

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