Ashes 2023: Matthew Hayden Urges Australia to Embrace England’s Swashbuckling Bazball Approach for Cricket Success

Australia’s victory in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston may have been a positive outcome, but former opener Matthew Hayden believes that the Australian cricket team can still learn a few things from England’s bold and aggressive Bazball approach to the game. Despite their triumph, Hayden suggests that Australia could benefit from adopting some aspects of England’s playing style in the longest format of the game.

Captain Pat Cummins played a pivotal role in Australia’s thrilling two-wicket victory, scoring an unbeaten 44 runs and leading a match-winning ninth-wicket partnership of 55 runs with Nathan Lyon (16 not out). This successful chase of 281 runs on the final day of the match was made possible, in part, due to England’s daring first-innings declaration on 393/8 on day one, a move that caught the attention of Hayden.

Hayden highlighted England’s unwavering determination to play their game, as expressed by Ben Stokes in a press conference. Stokes emphasized that despite not achieving the desired result, England would continue to pursue their preferred approach to cricket. Hayden believes that Australian cricket can draw inspiration from this mindset, referring to it as the Bazball approach.

Reflecting on the Edgbaston Test, Hayden noted that Australia found themselves restrained during their innings, despite Usman Khawaja’s significant contributions with the bat. Hayden suggests that Australia should strive to improve their ability to score runs freely and be inspired by the boldness demonstrated by the Bazball approach. He specifically mentioned Usman’s innings, stating that there was a moment where he needed to embrace BazBall himself and seek inspiration from it.

Hayden also evaluated the performances of several senior Australian players. He praised David Warner’s positive attitude and body language, highlighting his impact on the game. Hayden acknowledged Khawaja’s ability to occupy the crease but also urged him to find an additional gear to relieve pressure from other players. He commended Alex Carey’s fantastic performance and emphasized that Marnus Labuschagne needed to work on adopting the Bazball mentality to enhance his game. Hayden further mentioned that Steve Smith and Labuschagne tended to be more defensive than attacking, expressing his desire to see them explore a more aggressive approach.

In terms of strategy, Hayden urged Warner to take on England’s Ollie Robinson, who lacked significant pace and had displayed a confrontational attitude by giving a fiery send-off to Khawaja in Australia’s first innings. Hayden encouraged Warner to confront Robinson head-on, asserting Australia’s dominance. He described Robinson as a forgettable cricketer and suggested that Warner, with his aggressive style, should exploit the bowler’s lack of pace.

Hayden’s insights into England’s Bazball approach and his suggestions for the Australian team provide valuable food for thought. As the Ashes series progresses, it will be interesting to see if Australia incorporates some elements of England’s style into their own game, thereby creating a more dynamic and aggressive approach on the field.