‘Bazball’ is awesome for Test cricket, Australia were concerned – Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey believes ‘Bazball’ is “awesome” for Test cricket and says Australia were always concerned by England’s Ashes plan.

England fought back to square a thrilling series 2-2 after finding themselves 2-0 down against the world Test champions.

It would surely have been better had rain not halted England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford – the outcome vindicating the bold ‘Bazball’ policy that has attracted new fans into the longer format of the game.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Third Test – Day One – Headingley
Captain Ben Stokes (left) and head coach Brendon McCullum (right) have revolutionised the way England play Test cricket (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I think it has been awesome for the game,” said former Australia batter Hussey, known throughout the sport as ‘Mr Cricket’ because of his obsession for it.

“It’s created so much interest in Test cricket. You’re going to get that with an Ashes series anyway, but it’s created even more hype around it.

“It’s exciting to watch and that can only be good for the game.

“I was intrigued to see if England would have the courage to play that way because it’s not easy to smack high-quality bowlers out of the park on pitches doing a bit. But they did.”

Hussey scored 6,235 runs in 79 Test matches between 2005 and 2013 and played in three Ashes series.

The 48-year-old watched the start of the 2023 Ashes edition at home in Australia before heading to the UK to coach the Welsh Fire men’s team at The Hundred.

Hussey said: “Observing the Australian team, I think they were concerned about ‘Bazball’. The effect it was going to have and the extra pressure it was going to put on the bowling unit.

“But the Australians stuck to their guns and the way they wanted to play. Pat Cummins copped a bit of stick for his captaincy, but I thought he did well.

“Australia backed their way of playing and said: ‘If England want to play that way it’s fine, we can plan for that. We’re not going to change the way we play our best cricket’.

“They did that and Australians are absolutely delighted that we’ve retained the Ashes.”

Hussey had a clear insight into the England set-up when he was appointed as a batting consultant for the successful T20 World Cup campaign last year.

He insisted England’s approach to Test cricket would continue to develop under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes and that it could be a far different Australia side they face in the 2025-26 Ashes Down Under.

Hussey said: “Knowing Brendon and also spending time with Ben at CSK (Chennai Super Kings) in the IPL (Indian Premier League), they are very invested in this way of playing, not just to win games but to bring Test cricket as an enjoyable product for everyone to watch.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – First Test – Day One – Edgbaston
Opening batters Usman Khawaja (left) and David Warner (right) may be among the Australia players that will not be around for the next Ashes series Down Under (David Davies/PA)

“The Australian team over the next few years is also going to be fascinating to watch.

“David Warner and Usman Khawaja are coming to the back end of their career and who knows how long Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will keep playing for?

“Nathan Lyon’s also injured at the moment and we are going to start getting a glimpse of what the next era for us looks like.”