Australian cricketers have ridiculed the inclusion of the term “Bazball” in the Collins English Dictionary, as they prepare to meet England in the World Cup in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Bazball is used to describe a style of play implemented by England Test coach and former New Zealand cricketer Brendon “Baz” McCullum, marked by a commitment to risk-taking and quick scoring.
The Collins Dictionary added Bazball to its publication this year and nominated it for word of the year, in a list that also included greedflation, deinfluencing and eventual winner AI.
Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne described the inclusion of Bazball in the dictionary as “garbage”. “Seriously I don’t know what that is, honestly,” he said.
His teammate Steve Smith also laughed when asked about it by reporters in India. “Guys just keep joking about it,” he said. “I think Ronnie (Australian coach Andrew McDonald) has had enough of hearing about Bazball to be honest.”
Australia retained the Ashes this year after the five-match series in England finished 2-2. In the year leading up to that series, McCullum’s England side won 10 of 12 Test matches and scored at 4.76 runs an over – more than one run per over more than any other Test side.
The term Bazball emerged during this period and became the catchcry of a fervent belief among England’s cricketers and fans that their play style was superior to others. Alongside captain Ben Stokes, McCullum even lectured county cricket on the approach and encouraged its adoption.
However, the term has not been universally embraced. McCullum himself described it as “silly” after it was coined in 2022.
“There’s actually quite a bit of thought that goes into how the guys manufacture their performances and when they put pressure on bowlers and which bowlers they put pressure on,” he told radio station SEN. “There’s also times when they’ve absorbed pressure beautifully as well.”
England’s one-day side, coached by Australian Matthew Mott, is bottom of the 10-team pool at the World Cup, having won just one of six matches.
Australia sit third, with games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh to follow this weekend’s England clash, as they look to secure a place in the semi-finals starting on 15 November.