Bold Or Brainless? England Will Not Admit It But Declaring At 393/8 Was A Massive Blunder From Ben Stokes

Bold Or Brainless? England Will Not Admit It But Declaring At 393/8 Was A Massive Blunder From Ben Stokes

England declared their first innings at 393/8 on Day 1 when Joe Root was batting on 118 and still had a chance to score a few handy runs for the team with the tail-enders.

Rohan SenUpdated: Wednesday, June 21, 2023, 04:04 PM IST
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England's much-hyped 'Bazball' approach has been working for them for the past couple of years ever since Brendon McCullum took over as the head coach and Ben Stokes was elevated to the captain's position in Test cricket.

England batters have been adopting Bazball by going after the opposition bowling attack. Part of the strategy also involves sporting declarations which Stokes has been following but there is a fine line between being bold and brainless.

And it was this brain fade moment which cost them the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston, in my point of view.

Sporting declarations are fine but it has to make sense as well

Stokes went for a "sporting declaration" went they ended their first innings at 393 for 8 on the first day in Birmingham.

Rarely do captains declare when the team is eight wickets down and nearing a 400 total on the first day of a Test match.

Because it makes absolutely no sense to take such a decision in the hopes that they might get a few early wickets by asking the opposition to bat for the final few minutes of a day against the new Dukes ball.

Stokes defends declaring at 393/8

Stokes also defended his decision by saying that he wanted to have a crack at the Aussie batters for a few minutes before the end of Day 1.

"I thought that was a time to pounce. Who knows? We could have got an extra 40 runs or lost two wickets in two balls. I am not a captain who gets by on what ifs.

"We saw it as an opportunity to pounce on Australia and really start day two on top," Stokes said at the post-match press conference.

Australia countered England's strategy

But it made no difference to Australia as they managed to play out four overs, scoring 14 runs with openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner unbeaten at the crease.

And he went on to add that the team would continue to take such decisions in the future as well despite things not going his way at Edgbaston in the end.

"I am not going to change the way I have gone about my cricket because it is the Ashes."

Will Stokes repeat the same mistake at Lord's?

But it can be said for sure that if England are in the same position in the next Test at Lord's, Stokes would sure not make the same mistake again.

Who knows what the match result could have been had England not declared and decided to get a few extra runs towards the end of their first innings.

Fact remains that England lost the Test despite playing "bold, brave and brilliant", as described by former cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Atherton.

Their brave 'Bazball' approach went down the drain when Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins showed resistance and fight which eventually took them over the line while England kept wondering what if...

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