Ashes 2023: Sunil Gavaskar, former India cricketer, has criticised England’s unconventional fielding strategy during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham. This intriguing clash saw Ben Stokes-led England narrowly lose, providing Australia a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. This game was full of unexpected strategies from England, from declaring on the first day to employing an unconventional fielding setup.
In an unusual attempt to dismiss Usman Khawaja on the third day of the Test, England deployed a distinctive umbrella-like field formation. This setup, coined ‘Brumbrella’, drew considerable attention due to its oddity. However, Gavaskar, a respected figure in the cricketing world, expressed disapproval of this tactic.
In his recent column for ‘Mid-Day’, Gavaskar remarked that such a setup was merely for the ‘television’ and not designed to capture any wicket. He observed, “The Ashes series in England seems to have caught the imagination of the cricketing public there. England are batting with a freedom that has not been seen before and more shots, both orthodox and unorthodox are being played under the regime of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum than before the duo took over. That’s where Bazball stops.”
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Ashes 2023: Sunil Gavaskar criticises England’s ‘Brumbrella’ field placement
Gavaskar added that England’s bowling approach was nothing unusual compared to previous times. However, the novelty lay in their field placements, which consisted of three catching positions on both sides of the wicket. Despite such novelty, Gavaskar opined that this was a strategy for television rather than effective fielding.
He continued to criticise this approach, saying that the fielders could have caught the missed opportunities had they been in the traditional positions. Being placed upfront and close to the pitch left them with little time to react to hard, uppish pulls. As a result, they barely managed to touch the catches, leading to missed opportunities.
Thus, Sunil Gavaskar’s analysis provides a critical perspective on England’s unconventional fielding strategy during the first Ashes Test. Despite the novel approach and the excitement it generated, Gavaskar highlights that effectiveness and practicality should not be sacrificed for spectacle.