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Atherton warns rivals not to copy England’s ‘Bazball’

‘Other teams may not have the kind of gung-ho batsmen England have and may not be able to replicate that kind of approach’

England’s entertaining brand of Test cricket will be difficult to imitate because other teams do not boast of a similar group of swashbuckling batters, believes former captain Mike Atherton.

England’s 3-0 series sweep in Pakistan on Tuesday is further validation of their ‘Bazball’ approach under the dynamic coach-captain duo of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes.

Under them, England have now won nine of their 10 Tests playing fearless cricket, especially with the bat.

“There is no question other teams have taken note, the more interesting question is whether other teams will get sucked into trying to copy England,” Atherton told Sky Sports.

“My own view is as a captain, you try to work out what your resources are and the best way to win a game.”

“Other teams may not have the kind of gung-ho batsmen England have and may not be able to replicate that kind of approach.”

Stokes has said England are just not interested in draws and would not mind an occasional defeat in their single-minded pursuit for victory.

“Whether other teams will get sucked in remains to be seen, but certainly the days of England and others playing really attrition, dead cricket are gone – and people will probably say thank goodness for that,” Atherton added.

While many believe England are about to revolutionise how teams play Test cricket, former captain Nasser Hussain was not so certain.

“I’m not sure what bearing England’s style will have on how other teams play,” Hussain told the Daily Mail.

“It’s hard enough changing the culture of one side, let alone everyone else.”

Hussain was particularly pleased with England’s display in Pakistan but said ‘Bazball’ would face bigger tests in the home Ashes series next year and away in India in 2024.

“Well, it’s worked in Pakistan, and people weren’t sure it would! India will be a different challenge because their pitches turn.”

“But for me … the biggest test will be against Australia’s four seamers and Nathan Lyon.”

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