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It’s all about glory in England’s remarkable Test summer

England’s remarkable Test summer: Tottenham Hotspur great Danny Blanchflower once said: “The great misconception is that the game is first and foremost about winning. It’s nothing of the sort.” The game is about glory. It’s about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out and killing others, not waiting for them to die of boredom.”

Any jokes about Spurs rarely covering themselves in glory aside, Ben Stokes has previously said he is a Tottenham fan.

It is doubtful that he is familiar with Blanche Flower’s words but, if he is, he is likely to agree with each.

It’s obviously a triumph that Stokes’ England has won six Tests this summer, but more important is his resurgence of joy in cricket.

Even before a ball was bowled, captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum were adamant that the way England played was more important than the result.

He even spoke about England’s style as crucial to the health of Test cricket worldwide.

They were right too. England plays more games and travels more often than any other Test team, so it’s important for fans to want to see them.

The only problem at the time was that England had won just once in 17 Tests and the only people who wanted to see them play were their own friends and family, and even then they would have been forgiven for wavering.

It's all about glory in England's remarkable Test summer

England could have turned the tide with pragmatic, dogged cricket – Andrew Strauss took his team to the Ashes in Australia and top the world rankings by demanding less than three runs an over.

But that was never the case under Stokes and McCullum, two great showmen who understand that a game without entertainment is pretty much meaningless.

“Messaging has always been about entertaining and trying to make sure that people who pay to come, turn on their TVs and listen on the radio,” McCollum said. , they have been entertained.”

“Test cricket is an amazing game and it needs that consistency and support. Ultimately you want to get results because that’s how you’re judged, but basically, our job is to have fun and that. The point is to make sure everyone goes home happy.”

England has encouraged their batsmen to attack as their first instinct. McCullum tells bowlers to ignore the scoreboard and instead always use the tactic that is most likely to get a wicket. Fielders are required to chase each ball to the boundary, often in pairs, until it hits the top rope.

The result was thrilling fun, the kind of cricket kids fall in love with when they first encounter a bat or ball. Hit it hard, speak it fast, throw yourself around trying to stop it.

If it’s enjoyable for the fans, the same can be said for the players. The likes of Stuart Broad, Jonny Bairstow, and Joe Root have often been seen energizing the crowd, with wins celebrated with a quick beer in the dressing room or a Nottingham kebab house.

“The game comes with enough pressure without me and Brendan adding to it,” Stokes said.

“Even in the warm-up, we’ll say ‘whatever you want to do, just be ready for 11 am. We’ve all played enough cricket to know what we need to do to be ready. have to do.’ No need to be out doing hamstring stretches and shuttle runs.”

It sounds simple, and it is. Stokes and McCullum have unwavering faith in their players and have given them a clear mandate to play without fear of failure.

But there is also subtlety and attention to detail.

There was a cricketing logic to England’s second batting priority earlier in the summer when flat pitches and soft deliveries of cricket balls aided some incredible, record-breaking run chases.

Jack Leach has played every Test this summer when previous regimes were occasionally tempted to drop the spinner in favor of an all-pace attack – as a result, he has established himself as England’s number one. Relaxation and rotation of seamers have been reduced in favor of playing the strongest team available.

Ollie Robinson returned and took the new ball past Broad, using it to maximum effect. Even something as frivolous as Broad’s yet-to-be-seen role as a ‘nighthawk’ – a license to attack when the wicket fell during the day – resulted in a renewed emphasis on Broad’s batting and the domestic season. His most runs in the summer since 2015

Perhaps most impressively, England was able to embrace and channel his positivity when needed.

The second Test win against South Africa at Old Trafford, when they dismissed the Proteas twice in two contrasting sets either side of racking up 415-9 when the batting was tough, proved to be their best performance of the summer.

England’s challenge is to parlay its approach into something that is consistently successful, especially overseas, while also remaining committed to entertaining the crowds.

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