The past month has been marked by various members of the Proteas talking down England’s new attacking approach to Test cricket ahead of the upcoming men’s three-match series which begins at Lord’s on Wednesday. Although everything is isolated across various media engagements, it has created a sense that the tourists find talk of a “revolutionary” approach a bit irritating. Talking to Wisden Cricket MonthlyElgar stated that he did not see any “longevity in courageous cricket” and said that England could have had “egg on their faces” in the opening Test match against New Zealand.
Elgar is certainly not alone in that view and the tourists are no doubt itching to pop a bubble that has swelled on the back of four wins against New Zealand (three) and India. So far, no one associated with this England Test squad has engaged with these comments publicly, and it is also worth noting that “Bazball” is not a term used internally. Even the man it’s named after isn’t a fan.
Speaking on Tuesday, Stokes said neither he nor his team are paying too much attention to the noise coming from the locker room down the corridor.
“The opposition seems to be talking about it a lot at the moment,” Stokes said. “We don’t really talk about it too much. We just concentrate on what we’re doing. We have a style of play, they have a style of play.
“At the end of the day, it’s bat against ball; whoever plays the best over a Test match is more than likely to win. But we’re not going to dive too much into that, but we’re happy for Dean and the South African team to continue to say that they are not interested, but then also continue to talk about it.”
Elgar, for his part, insisted on the eve of the Test that he had said all that needed to be said about England’s perceived style of play. “With all due respect, I’m really not going to entertain it anymore,” he added. “We’ve talked about it long and hard. I just want to get on with cricket. I think the game deserves that respect. Mud-slinging is a thing of the past for me and we’re not going to go back and forth on it.”
“I think, for me, it was just reiterating the points of what we did at the start of the summer, about mindset, attitude and all that, about how we go out and play our cricket,” Stokes said when asked about his work beyond the yarns. “Personally, I feel like that’s one of the things that’s most important for this team right now is to believe what we’re talking about in the locker room and go out there and try to deliver on what we say. Because the results will show. after itself.
“If we play to the standard that we have done over the last four Tests, we know we’re going to give ourselves a big opportunity to win the game. If you don’t play good cricket, you’re going to lose the game . For us, it’s just a matter of going out and continuing with the attitude and mindset you’ve seen from the first four games of the summer.”