England stick to 'Bazball' but India warn of tough pitches

England were the last team to beat India on home turf when Alastair Cook's team won a four-match series 2-1 in 2012

By AFP

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England's Ben Stokes during a practice session ahead of the first Test in Hyderabad. — PTI
England's Ben Stokes during a practice session ahead of the first Test in Hyderabad. — PTI

Published: Tue 23 Jan 2024, 9:00 PM

Speedster Mark Wood said on Tuesday England would deploy their attacking style of cricket in the upcoming five-match Test series, as India's coach Rahul Dravid said he was confident his team was ready.

Dravid warned the visitors faced a "tough series" and conditions would be a "challenge".

The Three Lions open the series in Hyderabad on Thursday with their "Bazball" all-action style set to face its biggest challenge on pitches expected to assist the spinners.

"I don't think we will be defensive," Wood said. "I think we'll still look to take the game on."

England were the last team to beat India on home turf when Alastair Cook's team won a four-match series 2-1 in 2012.

"We have to soak up that pressure and create a bit of a theatre or drama on the field and then, when it's time, attack again," 34-year-old Durham fast bowler Wood said.

England coach and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and skipper Ben Stokes have devised an attacking brand of play dubbed "Bazball", in reference to McCullum's nickname.

"We know the challenges here. India very rarely loses at home," he added.

"I think it's almost like a bit of a free hit for us -- where we can come in here and give it a good go, and try something different."

But Dravid said he remains confident of his team's ability to counter England's all-action approach.

"They've played really well," Dravid said. "It's certainly been exciting to watch them play and they've had success playing like that."

The batting great said that England faced no easy ride.

"We know it's going to be a challenge for them in these conditions as well. These are conditions that we know very well," he said.

"We've got a lot of experience in our attack. As a coach, I'm looking forward to how our boys respond, because I know that we'll be put under pressure and I'm really hopeful that we respond positively."

Dravid praised England and said he expects a "tough series and a good series".

India's coach confirmed KL Rahul will not be the wicketkeeper, with the gloves going between KS Bharat and uncapped Dhruv Jurel.

The hosts have suffered a blow after star batsman Virat Kohli pulled out of the opening two matches due to personal reasons, but Wood said the host's line-up still includes a raft of "quality players".

While England received criticism from some quarters for training in Abu Dhabi and not India, Wood rubbished fears of being "undercooked".

"I think we've prepped really well", he said.

"It was also good to switch off there as well. We had a good team bonding session. So, we've come here fresh, mentally and physically, and ready to go."


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