Former England Cricket player Ian Botham has told William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, that 'Bazball' is a meaningless term that the England players don't enjoy.
Featuring on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, a podcast hosted by the former Crystal Palace owner who speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Botham questioned the meaning of England's style of play: “What is Bazball? It’s something that someone has concocted in the media and it has stuck. I don’t think the players enjoy it very much because it has no meaning and to me, I just see it as a side with confidence that goes out there to win.
"These guys went out to Pakistan and scored 500-odd runs in around 70 overs; that is unheard of! Everyone says it is too reckless, but I feel they will win in Manchester because the wheels are rolling now."
"I think it will go five days in Manchester. It’s that kind of pitch where you’d expect there to be a bit more bounce than we have seen, and it can turn quite a bit."
Keep faith with Bairstow
Despite calls to replace him, England have stuck with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow Sticking for the upcoming fourth Test at Old Trafford, and it’s a decision Botham believes will be vindicated.
"There’s talk about Ben Foakes coming in because he is a very good player, and a very good wicketkeeper as well, but I think Jonny Bairstow has earned the right to play in this Test because of the way he played in the last Ashes in Australia."
"People have short memories in all levels of professional sport and it’s only a series ago when Jonny scored back-to-back centuries and was our top scorer. Then he had an unfortunate accident with his leg, but my attitude is to not change a winning side."
"The toughest game for him would have been Headingley because everyone expects a result. Let’s see what he does at Old Trafford because the pitch will suit him more with a bit more pace and bounce. He will be working on his keeping and if we had caught 70% of our dropped catches this series, we would be at least 2-1 up."
Stokes is an awesome leader
Botham captained England during his illustrious career, and was full of praise for England’s current leader, Ben Stokes, who he believes has a style of captaincy which harks back to another former England legend.
"I think he is awesome; he has taken like a duck to water with captaincy,” the former Sky Sports Cricket presenter said. “He is a bit like how Brian Close was as a leader; you would follow him wherever he went and he has proved that in these Tests."
"He’s not asking anyone to do anything that he hasn’t done. He’s the guy that puts an arm around you when you need him, he engages you in a conversation, and you can see it from a distance. He’s learned very quickly and I think Brendan McCullum helped him. It’s a totally different atmosphere and these guys enjoy each other’s company."
Watch the full episode here: https://youtu.be/kzie-QmkARI