India’s emphatic victory in the third Test against England at Rajkot wasn’t just about the sheer margin of 434 runs or Yashasvi Jaiswal’s magnificent double century. It also marked a potentially significant tactical shift, with Rohit Sharma becoming the first captain to declare against England under the aggressive “Bazball” regime.

The Rise of “Bazball” and England’s Aggressive Approach

Since Brendon McCullum took over as England’s Test coach in May 2022, their batting philosophy has undergone a dramatic transformation. Nicknamed “Bazball” after McCullum’s nickname “Baz,” it emphasizes relentless attacking cricket, prioritizing scoring runs quickly even at the risk of losing wickets. This approach has yielded mixed results, with England producing thrilling wins but also suffering heavy defeats.

India’s Calculated Gamble: Declaring Against the Tide

With a formidable lead of 556 runs on the board, Rohit Sharma’s decision to declare on Day 3 was a bold move. Traditionally, teams batting first in such dominant positions would often look to bat longer, pile on the runs, and demoralize the opposition further. However, Sharma defied convention, potentially drawing inspiration from England’s aggressive tactics.

Did the Declaration Work? England’s Crumbling Response

England’s batting, known for its free-flowing style under “Bazball,” faltered spectacularly in the face of India’s bowling attack. They capitulated from a decent position, losing eight wickets in the final session to be bundled out for just 122 runs. This batting collapse suggests that while “Bazball” can be effective in scoring runs quickly, it might also leave them vulnerable against disciplined bowling, especially when chasing challenging targets.

A Tactical Masterstroke or a One-off Gamble?

Whether Rohit Sharma’s declaration proves to be a masterstroke or a one-off gamble remains to be seen. Some experts argue that it was a calculated risk based on the specific conditions and England’s batting style. Others see it as a potential turning point in Test cricket, where teams might start adopting more attacking tactics, even against teams known for their aggressive approach.

Beyond the Declaration: India’s Dominant Performance

It’s important to remember that India’s victory wasn’t solely due to the declaration. They displayed all-round brilliance throughout the match. Jaiswal’s double century laid the foundation, while Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round performance (112 runs and 7 wickets) was instrumental. The bowling attack, spearheaded by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, consistently put pressure on the English batsmen.

Looking Ahead: Will “Bazball” Adapt?

The Rajkot Test result throws up intriguing questions about the future of “Bazball.” Will England continue with their aggressive approach even when chasing big totals? Will they tweak their tactics to address their vulnerability against disciplined bowling? The upcoming Tests will be crucial in understanding how England responds to this tactical challenge posed by India.


Rohit Sharma’s declaration in Rajkot might have been a one-off tactical decision, but it has sparked a wider conversation about the evolving landscape of Test cricket. As teams experiment with more aggressive approaches, the battle between bat and ball promises to be even more exciting in the years to come.

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Aanya Kapoor, a seasoned editor at Atom News, brings a wealth of experience in journalism and a keen eye for compelling stories. With a background in investigative reporting, Aanya Kapoor is dedicated to delivering news that resonates with our diverse readership.