England wicketkeeper Sam Billings says South Africa cannot afford to ignore the so-called Bazball approach to Test cricket.
The Proteas are set to cement their place in the top two of the Test World Cup standings, but will be up against a team with a bold new approach to the game.
Ignore “Bazball” at your peril
South Africa lost their warm-up match to an England Lions team who adopted the same style, a big warning for the tourists.
“We (England Lions) beat the international team over four days by an innings of 5.74 points. You’d be pretty stupid to ignore it, to be honest. If that’s not a wake-up call… because we’re not even a top XI,” Billings was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“So it’s really up to them, but I think it’s a pretty strong statement of how we want to play cricket, but also to be able to execute it and have the players to do it was very impressive.”
“It (the Canterbury ground, where the Lions-SA game was played) is very similar to the Lord’s ground (where the first England-South Africa Test will be played) with the slope and things like that. Ollie Robinson had a couple of guys this week. He played exceptionally well. It’s a similar land and a similar feel. So the fact that we got 20 wickets on a fairly flat pitch that had six heavy rollers… What did we get? 672? You can’t help but feel confident as a group, of course, but some guys are also in the Test squad and they’ll have a lot of confidence going into next week,” Billings added.
England may have a secret weapon
Seamer Ollie Robinson did some damage to the Proteas and did not diminish his chances of playing in the series against South Africa.
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“I’m a big fan of Ollie in terms of his character on the field and also how he always brings intensity even when it doesn’t look like it physically,” Billings said.
“The way he approaches the game is infectious. And he kept his game going in the first innings: he actually got better and pace-wise I was further along than before when you’d think the heavy rinks would dampen the pace.”