Birmingham, July 3: The term 'Bazball' is the talk of the cricketing fraternity ever since the England cricket team started playing an aggressive brand of cricket after former New Zealand batting legend Brendon McCullum took over the reins as team's head coach.
English captain Ben Stokes and his fellow teammate Jonny Bairstow batted aggressively in the three-Test series against New Zealand and were lauded for their performance and everyone believes they'll continue this approach going forward.
In the fifth and final Test against India which is being played at Birmingham and England captain Stokes elected to chase - showing the positive brand of cricket they are going to play in the high-stakes encounter.
In the first innings against India, Stokes, however, failed to score a big total and was dismissed while trying to attack. The left-handed batter walked into the middle when his team was on the backfoot and along with Bairstow, he shared a 66-run stand before getting dismissed.
Stokes was lucky to survive a couple of times as Shardul Thakur and Jasprit Bumrah dropped sitters and got a reprieve but he continued to play aggressively. Bumrah had put him down at long-on on the previous delivery but the Indian captain took a brilliant catch off Shardul Thakur's ball and ended his stay. Stokes thus departed for 25 and left his team in the lurch.
But the way he was dismissed left former England captain Kevin Pietersen angry. Criticising his shot selection as reckless, Pietersen said on Sky Sports, "I was watching Stokes run down the wicket and slog the ball straight into the air. It was reckless batting; it was not defending your wicket."
Pietersen added further, "Test match hundreds are valuable commodities, they mean a hell of a lot because of the stress, tension, patience and discipline. He had three brain fades in 10 minutes. That devaluing of his Test wicket may not be a good thing. He is too good a player to do this."
"It's a new approach and entertaining, for sure. Stokes has been talking about that aggressive nature and the way he believes Test cricket needs to be played in this era. But Bairstow is playing with control. He is calm, and composed, is standing still, and playing the ball as he sees it. He is not running down the wicket, he is being calculated. There is no slogging at all, he is playing fabulously."