Bazball: The summer of 2022
An entertaining summer of Test match cricket came to a close at the Oval
The English cricketing summer is all but over, and the last day of Test cricket is complete.
England’s victory over South Africa wrapped up a summer that, in hindsight, can be viewed as a huge success.
From the first Test of the summer against New Zealand at Trent Bridge to the last time out at The Oval against South Africa, England’s approach to red ball cricket this summer has been brutal and (mostly) successful.
This new era has seen players up and down the English batting order score big runs, with Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and particularly Jonny Bairstow have thrived from the heavy hitting and big scoring ethos of Bazball.
A fearless approach to Test Cricket seems to be the tonic for England to recover from the disastrous 2021/22 winter in Australia and West Indies.
From one win in 17 under Chris Silverwood, England are now on a run of six wins from seven under Brendon McCullum, a run which has seen them win by margins of victory from nine wickets to an innings and 85 runs.
What has also been pleasing is the clearly strong team spirit that McCullum has brought and installed within the England set up.
Following the conclusion of the match at The Oval, England captain Ben Stokes told Test Match Special: “It has been very pleasing to be able to captain this side.
“The lads’ mindset and attitude towards the whole summer has been fantastic. The fact that different people have put their hands up at different times in the Test matches has been great.
“I’ll never forget walking down the stairs on day three to complete silence from 30,000 people. The silence was deafening.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it before and it was seriously special to be part of it. To sing the anthem with the little change was special again. I will never forget that day.”
McCullum was also complimentary of his captain, whilst also admitting he didn’t quite know just how good Ben Stokes was.
The England Coach said: “The guys have bought into the style the captain has asked for, a style that is authentic to him, and the way he leads, and, while the results have been fantastic, the mentality shift has been quite amazing. It has been something quite special to be a part of.
“I thought Ben [Stokes] would be good but I didn’t realise he’d be this good.”
Almost as quickly as it came around, the Test match summer has come to an end. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the England red ball side, and now Bazball takes a back seat with the T20 tour of Pakistan and then the T20 World Cup being next on the schedule for the ECB.
The memories made from this side will not be forgotten anytime soon and — although the new regime will soon face tough tests in Pakistan and then New Zealand — there is plenty to be positive about.