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Will 'Bazball' work against Australia in 2023 Ashes?

England’s form has been transformed in Test match cricket under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum. The Three Lions were at their lowest ebb in 2021 after suffering a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Australia in The Ashes where they failed to compete with the Baggy Greens.

Coach Chris Silverwood was sacked in the aftermath of the defeat, but skipper Joe Root remained in place despite the defeat. However, another loss against the West Indies in the Caribbean brought about the end of his tenure, after recording only one win out of their last 17 Test matches.

England required a complete overhaul of their structure, and although their choice of new managing director Rob Key raised eyebrows at the time, his selection of McCullum as coach and Stokes as skipper would transform the fortunes of the red-ball side.


England have now reeled off 11 wins out of their last 12 matches, winning series against New Zealand and South Africa on home soil along with an outstanding victory over Pakistan on the road in the Three Lions' first visit to the country in 17 years. The concept of ‘Bazball’ has been credited for the revolution of the team, playing an aggressive brand of cricket that has blown the opposition away. England’s batting prowess was a constant issue under Root, as other than the skipper the rest of the line-up failed to produce on a consistent basis.

Since Stokes and McCullum have arrived and broken the shackles on the team, England’s line-up has come to life and has shown a vast improvement by taking the game to opposing bowlers rather than waiting to be picked off. New Zealand and South Africa have some of the best bowlers in the world and were unable to stem the tide other than one game against the Proteas. India too could not conjure a response in English conditions.

There was a debate about whether it could work against Pakistan, where England had not played in 17 years in new conditions for most of the squad. The response was emphatic as England reeled off a 3-0 whitewash of the hosts, including an incredible performance in Rawalpindi in the first match of the series where the Three Lions scored over 500 runs on the first day, at six runs per over. Stokes’ side were clinical with the ball, taking 20 wickets on flat tracks in all three games, highlighting their improvement in overseas conditions.

Can England Rise for The Ashes?

England now have the challenge of taking their form toward The Ashes in 2023, where Australia have been well-documented in their bid to crush the ‘Bazball’ phenomenon. England are backed in the online betting odds at 27/25 to defeat the Baggy Greens to win back the urn, although Australia themselves have futures odds of 6/5 to win the series, highlighting how close the bookies believe the contest will be during the summer of 2023. Even a draw of 5/1 might not be a bad price, considering the 2-2 result of the 2019 series.

For all of Australia’s confidence and recent dominance over England Down Under, the Aussies have not won a series in England since 2001. Even though the Three Lions were outplayed in 2019, Stokes’ brilliance at Headingley and a surge at The Oval prevented a series defeat. That was an England team struggling for both confidence and form. Australia will find England a tougher nut to crack in 2023 in the height of the summer.

Many in Australia have suggested that England will have a tougher time bullying the Australian bowling line-up as they have done to others in world cricket. However, Stokes and his team had little trouble against Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi in England last summer. There was one wobble at the start of the series, but other than that England were in command.

The Three Lions also proved their mettle chasing down totals, reeling in India with a record chase of 378 courtesy of a Root and Jonny Bairstow masterclass. India’s attack contained Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj along with Ravindra Jadeja, but England made it straightforward in their record chase.

Australia have a talented attack led by skipper Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc along with spinner Nathan Lyon. They’ve had their moments in England, but have not been consistent. They wilted under Stokes’ counterattack at Headingley and will be faced with a line-up of similar minds and talents in 2023, including the impressive Harry Brook.

The Aussies might think they hold the advantage heading into the series, but it should be closer than anyone will have perceived after the last contests between the two sides.