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England adopt ‘Bazball’ style to fuel Hockey World Cup campaign Brendon McCullum style | Hockey News

ROURKELA: The aggression in England’s game on Friday was unmissable. It seemed the ‘swamp and upset’ tactics of the Australians had landed in the English dugout. But it was something else. England have brought ‘Bazball‘ to the Hockey World Cup in Odisha.
The ‘dust-up’ — as an England vs Wales rivalry is traditionally called — showcased the newfound aggressive game of coach Paul Revington’s team, which they are calling a version of English cricket’s ‘Bazball’ style introduced by Brendon McCullum.
The style worked wonders on the hockey pitch as well, albeit against one of the weaker oppositions at the 16-team World Cup that began in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela on Friday.
England won 5-0, and Sam Ward credited it to Ben Stokes and McCullum’s ‘Bazball’.
“We have gone down the ‘Bazball’ mentality, and it’s great our coaches are really encouraging that,” Ward told The Times.
“It’s just not the style on the pitch, it’s also the philosophy – removing the fear of failure, just like Ben and Brendon have done. We feel the same as Stokes has done about cricket. We want to excite people, entertain people. We want them to think that England are great to watch and to come and watch us.”
‘Bazball’ gets its name from McCullum’s nickname ‘Baz’ during his days as an active New Zealand player and captain.
McCullum became England Test team’s coach last year, introducing an attacking brand of cricket instead of playing defensive. The team has since chosen risk-taking over playing it safe and tasted success consistently in red-ball cricket.
That aggressive approach by England can change the narrative of Pool D, which is being seen as the toughest of the four pools at this World Cup.
Hosts India are in the same pool and started with a win against Spain, who can beat anyone on their day but were off-colour in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the home team.
The first objective of every team is to finish on top of its respective pool and get a direct entry to the quarterfinals instead of going through the anxiety of crossover matches.
Will ‘Bazball’ continue to do the trick for the Englishmen?
“It can be a nice phrase but we want to play good, free flowing, energetic hockey,” said midfielder David Ames.”That has been the key over the last few months. It has given the guys with skills the freedom to express themselves.”
Coach Paul Revington, however, is not too keen about the title ‘Revsball’ as a version of ‘Bazball’ and wants to share the credit with his entire staff.
“I would be uncomfortable with it. But it’s important to identify that there are a lot of good coaches in the programme at the moment. While I am at the top, the squad is lucky to have the likes of Zak Jones, Craig Sieben and Kwan Browne as assistant coaches.
England’s aggressive tactics will face a litmus test on Sunday when they take on hosts India, which could be the match that decides who tops Pool D.

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