“It feels a bit un-Australian…” Alastair Cook Criticizes Australia’s Defensive Tactics In Ashes 2023 Opener

The first day of the Ashes Test at Edgbaston witnessed an unexpected twist as England cricket great Alastair Cook expressed his surprise and disappointment at the defensive tactics employed by the Australian team.


In a departure from their traditionally aggressive approach, Australia seemed to adopt a cautious and defensive mindset, which Cook deemed “un-Australian.” Cook and other cricket pundits criticised the decision to deploy multiple fielders on the boundary, questioning the team’s lack of their usual fighting spirit.

As England amassed an impressive total of 8-393 before declaring after just 78 overs, former England captain Cook noticed a stark contrast in Australia’s gameplay. The Australian team’s usually aggressive and confrontational style appeared to have been replaced by a more conservative approach.

Commenting on the BBC’s Test Match Special, Cook expressed his surprise at seeing four fielders stationed on the boundary, emphasizing that it was an unfamiliar sight for an Australian team known for their “fire with fire” mentality.

‘It feels a bit un-Australian. They normally fight fire with fire. ‘I’ve never seen Australia with four men on the boundary. Former England captain and decorated batsman Cook said on the BBC’s Test Match Special.

Cook was not alone in his astonishment. Fellow cricket great Ricky Ponting, renowned for his aggressive captaincy during his tenure with Australia, shared Cook’s sentiment. Ponting couldn’t believe the defensive tactics employed by Australia, as sweepers were positioned on the boundary each time a new batsman walked to the crease. The sight of such defensive measures from an Australian team left Cook and Ponting questioning their departure from their usual approach.

Adding to the critique, former England star Kevin Pietersen weighed in on the situation, stating that Australia’s defensive mindset was a boon for England. Pietersen believed that on the first morning of an Ashes series, Australian captain Pat Cummins should have encouraged England to play aggressively, allowing them to hit boundaries and sixes. Pietersen argued that the Australian team seemed to have skipped their usual aggressive plan A and resorted directly to plan B, which was more defensive.

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In contrast to Australia’s defensive approach, England’s declaration surprised many cricket fans. England’s aggressive mentality, known as “Bazball” about coach Brendon McCullum, prompted captain Ben Stokes to declare with just 78 overs bowled. While some may have questioned the bold move, England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow praised the decision, stating that no player likes to enter the field for a mere 20 minutes and face only a few overs, especially when the team has formidable bowlers like Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson.

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