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'If this is how you want to play then back yourselves': Clarke wants England to remain unfazed by Bazball criticism

IANS | February 20, 2024 03:36 PM

NEW DELHI: Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has backed England to follow their aggressive approach if they think that's the best chance of beating India and urged Ben Stokes-led side to not get affected by 'Bazball' criticism.

England trailed 1-2 in the five-match series after suffering back-to-back defeats in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot, following an incredible victory in the series opener in Hyderabad. The most recent blow, a humiliating 434-run loss, has raised questions about the effectiveness of England's aggressive strategy on Indian wickets.

Clarke urged the English team to trust their instincts and back their aggressive style of play, acknowledging the risks inherent in such an approach.

"I think it's one of those things where you live by the sword and you die by it. This is the time for England to come together and Bazball or whatever you call it, if this is how you want to play then you have to back yourselves and not care what other people think. If you think that's the best chance of beating India then back yourselves, ” said Clarke to ESPNcricinfo, Around the Wicket show.

The Aussie also addressed the criticism levelled at the Joe Root for his dismissal in Rajkot, which eventually became the starting point of the visitors’ batting collapse in first innings and said: "For someone like Joe Root, that's why it's a big talking point because people feel does Joe really need to play such shots and can't help continue playing the same way. But it's a team sport. If one is in then I think Ben Stokes would want everyone to be in, ” said Clarke.

Former Australia captain Aaron Finch echoed Clarke's sentiments but also highlighted the need for tactical acumen and adaptability. He urged England to strike a balance between aggressive intent and strategic decision-making, particularly during critical phases of the game.

"I think there needs to be game awareness. They're getting so far ahead of the game because they're scoring quickly and that's just because of their intent. Sometimes, just for a session, just swallow your pride and get the game on your terms. Their openers are giving them a great platform but they're just not capitalising on it, " said Finch.

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