Former England captain Michael Vaughan has urged Joe Root to go back to playing his natural game and not get caught up in the Bazball hype in the Test series in India.
India levelled the five-match series 1-1 on the back of Jasprit Bumrah’s nine-wicket haul and Yashasvi Jaiswal’s sensational century in the second Test.
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England have been determined to continue playing their high tempo style of batting that’s been largely successful under coach Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes.
The Poms have attempted a record number of reverse sweeps in India as they try to counter the spin friendly conditions.
Root has scores of 29, 2, 5 and 16 from the first two Tests. His ugly slog to get out in the second innings in Vizag had England greats including Mike Atherton tearing their hair out.
Root was spotted batting left handed in the nets before the second Test, and Vaughan believes the gun batsman needs to put the Bazball tactics away and play more conservatively.
“They are in fifth gear from ball one,” Vaughan wrote in the UK Telegraph.
“I don’t mind some of them playing like that because they are better for it.
“But Joe Root should forget it. He has 10,000 Test runs playing like Joe Root. He doesn’t need to be a Bazballer.
“It is time for someone in the management to put an arm around Joe and say “please just be yourself”.
“I think it’s as simple as the fact that he is too wrapped up in Bazball, the whole ethos of excitement and entertainment.
“This is particularly important against spin. Along with Graham Gooch, Root is the best player of spin England has ever produced.
“To see him bat the way he did in the second innings, that’s not Root, and it’s not the way England are going to win in India, just gifting wickets away.”
Vaughan said there’s no problem with the likes of Ben Duckett, Jonny Bairstow and Stokes teeing off Bazball style, but Root needed to bat more slowly and anchor the innings.
“I knew something was up when I saw him get off the mark in both innings with reverse sweeps,” he said.
“He doesn’t play like that. He gets himself in, then takes risks. Let the firecrackers play like that. Joe has to be the rock, the calming influence while the mad men tee off around him.”
Vaughan believes Ollie Pope’s knock of 196 innings in the first Test might have been “a one-off” and to have any chance of winning the series England must learn to “go up and down the gears”.
Stokes and McCullum have an excellent winning percentage together but Vaughan believes the Bazball approach might ultimately amount to near misses, citing the drawn Ashes series last year.
“I do worry that they might become a team who do all this great work only to not actually win very much,” Vaughan said.
“They didn’t win the Ashes when they should have done and now they have let India back into a series when they still have a load of big names, including Virat Kohli, to come back.
“England have done a lot right on this tour so far and I genuinely believe they can win. But to do that, they need to smarten up their batting, and fast.”
Virat Kohli will miss the third Test for personal reasons, but KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja should be available to return.
The third Test between England and India begins on February 15.