Pakistan batsman Shan Masood warns England their Bazball approach will be ‘risky’ in the three match test series – but believes their aggressive style under captain Ben Stokes could earn them the World Championship
- Shan Masood has warned England ahead of their Pakistan tour
- Masood has questioned whether Bazball’s current approach can work
- However, Masood believes England have ‘put the spark back’ in Test cricket
- England and Pakistan will begin the three-match test series in early December
Shan Masood has expressed doubts about whether Bazball can work in Pakistan, but still believes England have come up with a long-term winning formula for Test cricket.
Pakistani batsman Masood made his own history during the summer of 2022 as the first player to reach 1,000 first-class runs, a form that led to the new Yorkshire captain being recalled to a Pakistani side accustomed to working out games on home soil.
Meanwhile, England tore up the playbook of the traditional game, winning six of their first seven games under new coach Brendon McCullum.
England has completely changed Test cricket under Ben Stokes (L) and Brendon McCullum
Now they will take their offensive policy into a first overseas assignment, with the three-match series promising to be a clash of styles.
Asked if England can play with uber-aggression in Pakistani conditions, Masood told the Mail On Sunday: “I think anyone can do that, but it’s risky. As a batsman, one bad shot here and you’ll have everyone on your back.
“The most important thing England is doing right now is supporting players. They’ve decided this is the way they want to play it. They also decided that in 2015 with their white-ball cricket.
“In life you have to take risks. If you don’t take risks, you’ll probably stay in the same place.
Pakistan batsman Shan Masood believes England playing Bazball could be ‘risky’ in Pakistan
“Life evolves, this game evolves, and England have decided to be the pioneers in this by introducing levels that were previously unheard of.
‘People initially laughed it off when they talked about scoring 400 in white-ball cricket, but they did and ended up winning that World Cup three years ago.
“Now it’s time to test cricket and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on to win world championships with this style of play because they’ve found their own thing, they’ve seen a gap that might exist in cricket and have been successful.”
England scored at an amazing rate of 4.44 runs per over in the 2022 home season, more than 60% faster than their historic pace of 2.76.
“They played against quality teams in New Zealand, India and South Africa. They are not lesser teams. And it’s just exciting to watch them play,” the 33-year-old added.
“What’s good for a cricketer is that they keep playing like that, don’t change and stay true to their blueprint.
“They got people to watch Test Cricket and see what they do differently. They made it more fun and put the spark back in.”
‘They made people watch Test cricket’: Masood is a fan of England’s new style of play
That spark may be hard to rekindle if the field at Rawalpindi, the scene of the first Test starting on Thursday, proves as lifeless as when Australia visited earlier this year – just 20 wickets fell over 379.1 overs.
Both teams are hoping for more in this one, with the host bespectacled leg spinner Abrar Ahmed – much like his England counterpart and namesake Rehan Ahmed, yet uncapped – plus another newcomer in fast bowler Mohammad Ali, whose nickname Dizzy reflects the similarity in his bowling action with that of Jason Gillespie, within an attack spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi is missing due to an appendectomy.
The selection of four front-line spinners plus off-spinning all-rounder Agha Salman in a squad of 18 suggests that Pakistan – which unlike England can still qualify for the next World Test Championship final – has identified a potential Achilles’ heel in a swinging tourist. batting unit in which the injured Jonny Barstow is a notable absentee.
But reverse swing also proved a powerful weapon for the Australians in their 1-0 series win six months ago, hence Haris Rauf’s call. The 29-year-old is one of the world’s foremost exponents of the art in limited-overs cricket.
England’s fastest bowler, Mark Wood, on the other hand, remains extremely doubtful for the series opener due to body wear.
Speedy Shaheen Shah Afridi will miss England’s tour of Pakistan due to an appendectomy