While Proteas batsman Rassie van der Dussen admits England’s Test form is impressive, he isn’t convinced it is going to fundamentally change the way the game is played.
England have won seven of their last eight Tests and broke a plethora of records in the first Test against Pakistan where they scored more than 500 runs on the first day alone.
Under head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, the no-holds barred, win-at-all-costs approach has come to be known as Bazball and it has definitely taken Test cricket by storm.
However, while also impressed, Van der Dussen says the conditions in Pakistan were particularly suited to this type of cricket, especially since they do not need to worry about the World Test Championship.
“If there’s ever a place to play like that it’s probably Pakistan and then you are going to follow up with a question of why didn’t we play like that when we were there,” he said.
“But if you look at the English side, they have been very vocal in terms of they are going to back their guys, even through a few failures. They are out of the World Test Championship for this run so it’s almost a nothing-to-lose type of game that they can play.
“To an extent, they [the England batsmen] tried it against us and it didn’t really work, even though we lost the series at the end.
“That’s an approach that can work if the conditions are really docile like it was in Pakistan. As soon as the bowlers are a bit more into it, like we saw at Lord’s, it’s a very fine line between going out and playing aggressively and then getting out, as opposed to being more disciplined.”
Before the run they are on now, though, England’s aggressive approach came apart at the seems on a tour of the West Indies where they lost a Test series 1-0 after failing to win any of the three games.
While Bazball is the talk of the town right now, Van der Dussen believes fans of Test cricket will always prefer an even game to one where the batsmen are so dominant.
“I prefer the cat and mouse. People like seeing that – a lot of shots and a lot of runs – but the purist and the real Test fan likes it when the balance is even between bat and ball and the bowlers are in the game as much as the batters.”