What is Bazball in cricket? Bazball is a fresh aggressive approach coined for England’s new Test coach, Brendon McCullum, whose nickname is ‘Baz.’
Why are we discussing Bazball in cricket in 2022?
Since captain Ben Stokes & McCullum took over, England cricket team’s record in Test match format has been astonishing: WWWWLWWWWW. This includes seven wins at home against New Zealand, India, & South Africa and 3 away wins in Pakistan. The manner of victory has been even more mind boggling—An innings victory and six wins with 5 wickets or more.
When you type ‘Bazball’ in Google Trends, you get this image below. With England’s astonishing consecutive fourth innings chases in Test match cricket, especially with the 378 against India, no wonder that interest in this term has really, really piqued in the last few days.
But what in the world is Bazball? Can someone be Bazballing? Could you become a Bazballer? Is it a noun, verb, adjective, or all of the above?
Don’t worry, be happy.
Today, we will help you out and try to answer this exact answer—The who, what, where, when, and how of Bazball!
While writing this unofficially official definition of Bazball, we took inspiration from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. We make an honest attempt here to write this definition similar dictionary format—part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.), phonetic pronunciation, variants, examples, and more!
So, in simple terms, what is Bazball? Brave, Brash, and lots of Bairstow.
11 Examples of Bazball
England selecting Rob Key, a former English cricketer and commentator with zero administrative experience, as the Managing Director of the English Cricket Team and choosing Brendon McCullum (zero first-class coaching experience) as the head coach of the England Test team.
England captain Ben Stokes declaring on Day 1 with a score of 393/8 on a flat deck with Joe Root still 118*
In a Spelling Bee, a contestant can ask for usage in a sentence to further understand the word. Our next example doubles up as an interpretation and also satisfies the “Can You Use It in a Sentence?” segment (Don’t know what I am referring to? Watch this hilarious Jimmy Kimmel Spelling Bee segment).
“When a fielder sledges you and you sledge them back with runs. That’s Bazball. When you are so intent on showing respect to the opposition’s bowlers you walk down the track, clear your front leg, and respect them repeatedly into the sightscreen. That’s Bazball. When an old lady needs help crossing the street, but instead of walking her across you fire her from a cannon all the way into her house. Definitely Bazball…When something has been around for a while, but the rebranding is so strong it seems futuile to resist…perhaps this is also Bazball?
Origins and History of Bazball
Brendon McCullum, affectionately known as Baz, has always been in the forefront of the media.
Whether as a swashbuckling wicketkeeper back in 2002, the unofficial launcher of the Indian Premier League with his 158*, captain supreme of New Zealand’s golden run to the 2015 ODI World Cup Final, Baz has always been there. Rejuvenating Eoin Morgan’s men to ODI overhaul, inventing the BMacDilscoop, retiring on a high with the fastest Test hundred, coaching Trinbago Knight Riders to unbeaten glory, or note-taking KKR’s way out of IPL Playoffs, McCullum is a trendsetter.
But this time, it’s different. Coaching T20s? Fine, but Test matches? Baz has no experience. Questions were tossed. The England cricket team had only won one match in their last 17 Tests. How could they possibly bounce back?
They didn’t just bounce back. They Bazzed back. Whatever that means.
Four wins in four Test matches. Record chases of 250+. They have now brushed aside both of the finalists in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, New Zealand and India. The Rob Key-Brendon McCullum-Ben Stokes partnership has somehow swayed a magic wand over England and rejuvenated the English fans’ hopes in Test cricket
England are no longer the good guys of world cricket. They are, now the Baz boys….
Brendon McCullum In His Own Words
Here are some snippets of Brendon McCullum from an interview after a 3-0 win over his home nation, New Zealand. When asked about emotion, clarity, keeping it simple, and his general coaching style, he said,
“I try to quieten down some of the noise…Trying to get these guys closer together and try for them to understand their game…give them as much confidence as I can…we can get caught up in a fear of failure…..and I don’t know what Bazball is…don’t know where it came from..[on Jonny] .Go out there and just be yourself. Have your moment…Try to inspire the next generation of Test cricket”
– Brendon McCullum
This has already inspired the likes of Dravid-Ball, Lax-Ball. How far reaching will McCullum’s coaching impact be?
Can Brendon McCullum Fulfill His True Legacy?
Brendon McCullum has won trophies, gained worldwide acclaim, and played memorable innings. He has achieved everything a cricketer can achieve in his or her life.
McCullum has been a lifelong trendsetter. Now only goal remains.
Can Brendon McCullum, aka Baz, fulfill his legacy and make the Dictionary?
*In order to get an official word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the usage and citation matters. There are dictionary employees working on a daily basis perusing through publications, articles, online editorials, etc. So basically, if we use Bazball enough, especially in written work, it will one-day, make the dictionary.
Bazball in England Cricket – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Bazball?
The purpose and intent of Bazball is to completely annihilate the opposition, abruptly change the tide of a game, and bring an uneasy calm before a surprising storm, all without sacrificing the inner innocence and amusement of a three-year-old child. The prerequisite of Bazballing is the existence of a Bairstow and ability to display aggression without displaying aggression. The Bazball Effect is largely a cricketing phenomenon but is not limited to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
What are some examples of Bazball?
– England selecting Rob Key, a former English cricketer and commentator with zero administrative experience, as the Managing Director of the English Cricket Team and choosing Brendon McCullum (zero first-class coaching experience) as head coach of the England Test team – Jonny Bairstow smashing 136 (92), 162 (157), or 71*(44) and England chasing 279/5 in 78.5 overs (RR 3.53), chasing 299 in 50 overs (RR 5.98), or chasing 279/5 in 78.5 overs (RR 3.53) in 4th innings of a Test match. – Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell scoring 4 centuries and 5 half-centuries between them, not giving up, and giving England a taste of their own medicine – Jasprit Bumrah scoring 35 runs off one Stuart Broad over – England scoring 657 in 101 overs with 4 centuries in Rawalpindi against Pakistan on a dead pitch.
Who coined the phrase, ‘Bazball’?
Although the ‘Bazball’ is named for Brendon McCullum, known as ‘Baz,’ he did not coin the term himself. The phrase ‘Bazball’ was created by England cricket fans on social media and commentators.
What is the Bazball approach?
What is Bazball in cricket? Bazball is a fresh aggressive approach coined for England’s new Test coach, Brendon McCullum, whose nickname is ‘Baz.’
Who are the best fielders in cricket history? Today, we answer that exact question.
Discussing the best fielders in cricket history is hardly a debate. Jonty Rhodes is the best cricket fielder of all-time, with Paul Collingwood, Ravindra Jadeja, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, AB De Villiers, and Herschelle Gibbs coming close behind.
There have been plenty of great fielders in cricket—Great slip catchers, forward short leg specialists, direct hitters, etc. Today we create a list of 32 best cricket fielders of all-time and produce a modern day XI comprising of just fielding legends. Here is a quick preview of the Top 32 Cricketers of All Time (by country): India surprisingly makes #1 with 9 best cricket fielders of all time, South Africa with 6, Australia with 5, and New Zealand with 4 in the best fielders in cricket history list.
Best Fielders in Cricket History (By Country)
Number of Players
Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Eknath Solkar, Kapil Dev, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin
Jonty Rhodes, AB De Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Colin Bland, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis
Ricky Ponting, Steven Smith, Andrew Symonds, Glenn Maxwell, Mark Waugh
Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor
Kieron Pollard, Roger Harper, Gus Logie
Paul Collingwood, Ben Stokes
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene
Today’s Twist – Best Fielders in Cricket History Who Can Form a Playing XI
Suresh Raina’s retirement received numerous tributes, especially on his fielding. In a conversation with Harsha Bhogle, Raina was asked from a list of 10 great fielders, which 5 would he choose to field in the inner circle.
This inspired us to do another post on World XI: With Twists, this time made up of the best fielders in cricket history.
Create a World XI consisting of the best fielders in the modern game. The twist is that these best fielders should be able to play together in a match. Hence, we need to have at least one player who could also be a wicket-keeper (2nd skill) as well as five players who could bowl, preferably two fast bowlers.
There have been numerous wonderful fielders in the past, so to narrow our search, we also have the following constraints:
We make a distinction between fielding and catching. Fielding consists of direct-hits, diving stops, and acrobatic catches. Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, and Jacques Kallis have stellar records as catchers and are in the extended squad.
Specialist wicketkeepers like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher are not considered. However, AB De Villiers, Brendon McCullum, and Dravid are considered since they regularly played both roles.
Catches Win Matches
There have been several middle-order batsmen with great fielding skills, but then who would bowl? We would love to stack our line-ups with the great South African and Australian batsmen, but we need to keep the balance of the side in mind.
Best Fielders in Cricket History: Modern Era
Here is our XI. We have an XI consisting of 3 Australians, 2 South-Africans and Kiwis, along with 1 player each from Sri Lanka, India, England, and the West-Indies.
We have a left-arm pace bowler (Boult), Collingwood and Pollard with their medium pace dibbly-dobblies, Jadeja the left arm spinner, and Symonds/Dilshan contributing part-time off spin overs. AB De Villiers will keep the gloves. I would love to have Herschelle Gibbs or Mohammad Kaif in my XI—a useful lower order batsman, but then we would have to either drop a wicket-keeper or a bowler.
Martin Guptill is known for his incredible fielding skills, which include taking diving catches, running out opponents and snatching boundary catches. He was also the hero of several match-saving moments like his direct hit against MS Dhoni in the 2019 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final. His ability to play any position on the field, combined with his quick reflexes, make him one of the best fielders in the world.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is known for his brilliant fielding skills, especially at the backward point position, where he frequently takes catches and bowleds as well as diving saves. His quick reflexes are what makes him one of the best fielders in the game.
Ricky Ponting, the pillar of Australian national cricket team, was known for his stellar fielding skills, especially in the mid-on and mid-off positions. He was capable of taking direct hits and making spectacular run outs with accurate throws from any part of the field. His hat-trick of run-outs against South Africa in a Test match in 2006 is one of the best examples of his fielding prowess. He was also capable of taking catches and saving boundaries with ease. His ability to read the game and anticipate the play ensured that he was always in the right position when it mattered.
Steven Smith’s fielding skills are often overlooked due to his batting prowess. He is a brilliant fielder and takes one-handed diving catches with ease, especially at the 2nd slip or backward point position. His agility and quick reflexes have made him one of the best fielders in cricket and he has pulled off some stunning catches over the years.
Jonty Rhodes single-handedly revolutionized fielding, with his diving catches and direct hits becoming the stuff of legends. His amazing reflexes combined with his agility made him one of the best fielders in the game. He was capable of taking spectacular catches at backward point or third man, making running run-outs almost effortless and snatching direct hits while everyone else could only watch in awe. He was truly a master of his craft and the perfect example for modern fielders to look up to. He has left an indelible mark on the game with their sublime fielding skills. He will always be remembered as the best fielder in cricket history.
South African national team will forever be indebted to Rhodes for establishing the fielding legacy that is now associated with them.
The Proteas have another great fielder in Ab De Villiers. He is an all-rounder, known for his acrobatic diving catches and incredible reflexes. His ability to take spectacular catches at 2nd/3rd slip, wicketkeeper and backward point made him a vital part of the South African team’s fielding unit.
Paul Collingwood deserves a mention as one of the best cricket fielder the world has ever seen. His exemplary fielding skills at backward point made him an invaluable asset to the English team over the years. He was known for his incredible reflexes and acrobatic one-handed diving catches, like the famous Matthew Hayden catch during an Ashes series.
Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was a brilliant fielder in his own right. His fielding prowess at short cover/short mid-on, and short mid-off positions was legendary, known primarily for his direct hits. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate the play and execute perfect run-outs even from seemingly impossible situations.
No list of the best fielders in cricket is complete without Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder from the Indian cricket team has been a vital part of their fielding unit since his debut, known specifically for his rocket throws from backward point and direct hits. From Indian Premier League to international cricket, he has made his name with fielding heroics.
Kieron Pollard is one of the most athletically gifted fielders in cricket. His ability to take boundary-rider catches, or pull off one-handed dives to save runs has been a key part of West Indies’ fielding display over the last decade. Former captain and a retired international now, he can play with freedom for the rest of his career.
Trent Boult is a valuable asset to the New Zealand cricket team. His fielding skills at boundary and cover point are remarkable, known for taking sensational catches on the ropes or sprinting back from deep mid-wicket for spectacular one-handed grabs. He has also taken some of the greatest caught & bowled wickets in recent years as well.
One of the most memorable fielders in cricket, Brendon McCullum is a special mention for his superhuman fielding skills. His catching ability at cover-point and wicketkeeping was second to none. He was known for taking amazing diving saves in tight situations, no matter how hard the ball was hit, making him an outstanding ground fielder. One of the most charismatic cricket personalities at the Brisbane Cricket Ground in the Big Bash, India in the IPL, and back at home as captain.
Mohammad Kaif was one of the most important fielders for the Indian team and his contribution towards revolutionizing their fielding standards will always be remembered. His ability to take catches at backward point, cover, long on, or long off were exemplary. His catch diving over Dinesh Mongia against Pakistan in 2004 still gives me chills.
Yet another South African cricketer in the list. Herschelle Gibbs was a brilliant fielder during his playing days and his name is still remembered for his outstanding run-outs and diving catches. He was known for taking some spectacular catches at backward point or cover, and then there were the run-outs which helped South Africa win many important matches. One of the most electric fielders in the history of cricket.
The former Indian cricketer, Suresh Raina is remembered for his energy and enthusiasm on the field. He was the perfect example of how a fielder should be. His catches at backward point or cover are still talked about, particularly those sensational one-handers which he made look so easy. His quick reflexes at short mid-wicket made him a valuable asset to the Indian team.
The Aussie all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell is an outstanding fielder and has pulled off some miraculous catches and saves in the deep. His passion for the game and his high energy levels on the field make him a fan favorite. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest modern-day fielders in cricket history.
Another Indian international cricket on the list, Yuvraj Singh will always be remembered as a great fielder alongside Kaif & Raina. He was an exceptional fielder at backward point and his catches were often described as ‘effortless’. His fielding contributed to many of India’s victories.
The former Indian cricketer Eknath Solkar was one of the greatest short leg fielders in the world. He was an outstanding fielder at the forward short leg position. He is remembered as one of the finest.
The former Indian captain, Virat Kohli needs no introduction. He is probably the most complete cricketer in the world right now and an outstanding fielder to add to it. His low-diving catches, quick reflexes and athleticism are unmatched. Probably the greatest ODI player, the Indian international cricketer is an inspiration to many aspiring cricketers out there.
The former South African cricketer, Faf du Plessis is world-renowned for his boundary saves and acrobatic catches. To be able to take those seemingly impossible catches without any effort, he will be regarded as one of the excellent fielders of the era.
The former Indian captain, Kapil Dev was known for his running catches at the square leg position. He was an outstanding fielder and had a great eye to judge where the ball was going. His catch in the 1983 World Cup final has gone down as one of the best ever seen on a cricket field.
The former Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi was an excellent fielder at mid off, long on and long off. He had the ability to judge the flight of the ball accurately and take running catches. One of his most memorable catches was the 2009 T20 World Cup where he took a spectacular catch diving forward.
The current English cricketer, Ben Stokes is an outstanding fielder. He has the ability to take one-handed catches at the boundary and deep cover positions with ease. His unbelievable catch against South Africa during the 2019 World Cup is one of the best ever seen in cricket history. Nasser Hussain’s “You Cannot Do That, Ben Stokes” captured that moment vividly in history.
Rahul Dravid was the first cricketer to 200 Test catches. He was well renowned for his slip-catching ability, regularly taking catches with both hands in the most difficult of positions. He set a benchmark for others to follow and is one of the greatest ever slip fielders. He also lead India numerous times, as a captain, fielder, and the unbreakable Wall. Now, Team India’s current coach.
29. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka, 218 ODI Catches, 205 Test Catches, 17 T20I Catches)
Mahela Jayawardene is the most prolific fielder across formats.
He holds the record of 218 ODI catches, 205 Test catches, and 17 T20I catches. He was an outstanding fielder at the slip with a safe pair of hands. Jayawardene set the benchmark for modern day cricket in terms of fielding in all three formats.
30. Jacques Kallis (South Africa, 200 Test catches)
Truly an all-round cricketer. Kallis was a fine fielder at the slip position and holds the record for most catches taken by a South African cricketer in Test cricket – 200. He took some outstanding catches during his illustrious career and is one of the best slip fielders ever.
Honorable Mentions: Yajurvindra Singh, Alastair Cook, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Anderson, Stephen Fleming
Cricket Philosophy: T20 Cricket Has Helped Improve Fielding Standards
Ever since T20 cricket came into existence, there has always been a debate between Test vs T20— traditional vs newer ideas.
I think there is space for both formats to coexist. Regardless, the one benefit from 21st century technology and T20 cricket is the focus on fitness. In a fast-paced T20 game, a run-out or diving save can change the outcome of the match.
Therefore, we have witnessed a large number of incredible efforts on the boundary in recent years. Fielding is no longer an ‘extra’ skill—it is now the norm.
Anyway, slightly older video, but I am going to leave you with few of the best catches in cricket below. Enjoy, SUBSCRIBE, and comment below who your favorite fielders/ best fielding memories are.
Best Fielders in Cricket History – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who is the best fielder in cricket history?
Jonty Rhodes from South Africa is considered the best fielder of all time in cricket.
Who are the Top 5 fielders in cricket history?
Jonty Rhodes (South Africa), Paul Collingwood (England), Andrew Symonds (Australia), Ricky Ponting (Australia), and Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) are considered the Top 5 cricket fielders in the history of the game.
Which fielder has the most catches in Test match cricket?
Rahul Dravid (210), Mahela Jayawardene (205), Jacques Kallis (200), Ricky Ponting (181), and Alastair Cook (175) took the most catches in Test match cricket.
Which fielder has the most catches in ODI cricket?
Mahela Jayawardene (218), Ricky Ponting (160), Mohammad Azharuddin (156), Ross Taylor (142), and Sachin Tendulkar (140) has the most catches in ODI cricket.
Who was the best cricket fielder in the slip position?
Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, and Jacques Kallis are considered the best slip fielders of all-time.
Who was the best cricket fielder in cover position?
Colin Bland from South Africa is considered the best fielder in the cover position.
Who was the best cricket fielder in the forward short-leg position?
Eknath Solkar from India is considered to be the best fielder in the forward short leg position.
Sources: YouTube (Videos) Image Courtesy: JontyRhodes8 JontyRhodes8 / CC BY-SA, (Featured Image) – Paul Venter via CC SA 3.0