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Dear Bazball

Updated on: 03 March,2024 05:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

Bazball is one such benefit not produced in the factory. That benefit to cricket is the ‘no fear of failure’—the embracing of mental freedom.

Dear Bazball

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaWikipedia defines “Bazball”, coined after English coach, Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum,  signifies an aggressive brand of cricket that encourages players to express themselves and perform with a liberated mindset.
First things first, hello, we haven’t met, but I’m a fan… you’ve been copping a bit of fire recently in India—you represent a philosophy that’s a game changer, excuse the pun. But for many, “Bazball” is this “new-fangled” approach to Test cricket—it’s easy to dismiss you as “hit and miss”, as “crash and burn”—Baz McCullum believes Bazball is a far deeper concept than merely scoring quick runs in Test cricket, more than just aggressive batting—it’s not just jargon from a manual, but a mindset. I humbly agree.

It was at Lintas India, that I learnt a massive advertising lesson: A real brand benefit isn’t produced in the factory—it has a strong emotional or physical connect with the audience/consumer. Levi’s doesn’t just manufacture ripped jeans, or fly buttons. Levi’s sells sex—it’s hard for marketing managers to buy into this ‘risky’ thinking… the instinct is strong to go with the tried and tested, the straight and narrow, to follow the beaten path, frankly to play safe—unfortunately, we have so many hurdles in our heads.

Bazball is one such benefit not produced in the factory. That benefit to cricket is the ‘no fear of failure’—the embracing of mental freedom.

Bazball redefines the game, because it fuses elements of T20 and ODI into Test cricket. I suspect people have misinterpreted “Bazball” for what we term as a “hit out or get out” approach—it isn’t, it just takes the ‘draw’ out of the equation. Win at all costs.

Gotta say, it embarrasses me a tad, that we, as a cricket loving nation, are unable to see this. Indian ex-players and the twitterati have sought to diss this “refreshing new thinking”.

Do we fear change?

I have a Confucius like funda… we hate what we can’t understand, and this Bazball thing has gone against popular belief, gone against conventional wisdom. It challenges all the ‘pre-conceived notions’ we’ve held for years…. lateral thinking seems to defy our conditioning.

Bazball isn’t a formula for instant success, Bazball isn’t foolproof, Bazball isn’t a fad.

Bazball is a free flow thinking process… it’s fun, it’s fresh.

Bazball is the greatest out of the box, lateral thinking yet in cricket.

Dear Bazball, I’ll tell you why I’m grateful to you—you’re trying to breathe life into a dying format, you seek to keep Test cricket alive.

Bazball applies to an aggressive, fearless brand of cricket, but I think it’s also a fabulous life philosophy.

I’d include Bazball to Human Resource Development programs, to inculcate in employees, the power to think fearlessly. I’d add it to the Harvard Business Review curriculum, it’s a modern management tool, it rewards risk, it condones failure, if the intent is right.

Dear Bazball, you’re trying to get us out of a comfort zone.

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum… you don’t have to justify yourself, to anyone, not to us, not to the stodgy ex-English cricketers… let all criticism slide off you like water off a duck’s back.

Bazball is a work in progress, the final aim is to save Test cricket—in a world where “instant is everything”, this is it. (People mustn’t forget, Bazball had an incredible success rate till you guys came to India).

Bazball isn’t hit or miss, it’s about freedom from fear. Just go out there and express yourselves, don’t be scared of failure, is the mantra.

We’ve been conditioned to believe the opposite of success is failure—Bazball says there are fifty shades of grey.

Yours sincerely.

A fan.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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