LONDON: Daniel Vettori reckons England’s winning record rather than their aggressive style of play is what has caught the attention of Australia ahead of this season’s Ashes series.
England have won 10 of their 12 Tests since coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes joined forces last year, with the team undergoing a dramatic revival while adopting a dynamic approach.
But Australian assistant coach Vettori, who played alongside McCullum for New Zealand, said it was results rather than the ‘Bazball’ — a tribute to McCullum’s nickname — by which they had been achieved that was the central point about England’s progress in red-ball cricket.
“Irrespective of the style they [England] are using, they’re playing winning cricket and that’s the thing everyone gravitates towards,” Vettori told reporters on Thursday.
“The fact that they’ve played so well over an extended period of time has been so impressive.
“Brendon wouldn’t want to make the attention about himself, but he’s got this moniker going for him now. That’s Brendan since he came out of the womb — he’s pretty positive.
“England keep coming and so you’ve got to anticipate that and not back off.”
England hope Stokes will be fit to bowl during the five-match Ashes series following a longstanding knee that has required a cortisone injection.
The paceman was unable to bowl in England’s previous outing against New Zealand in February.
“We’re preparing for him to be his normal self,” said Vettori of Stokes.
“He’s one of the top all-rounders in world cricket. We know how much he brings to the table as an all-rounder. “It’s like Cameron Green for us, offering that balance and ability to come in and be an aggressive weapon along with his batting, which has been exceptional.
“Every team wants their all-rounder up and running because it makes things run so smoothly.”
Australia’s lone match before the Ashes start at Edgbaston on June 16 is next week’s World Test Championship final against India at the Oval.
“There’s a real excitement that we have the ability to play one of the best teams in the world in such a crucial game and that should set us up well for the Ashes,” said former spinner Vettori.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023