Sportsmail’s cricket experts debate whether ‘Bazball’ England is the most important Test team

England sealed a landmark victory over Pakistan on Tuesday morning, winning their third of the three Tests by eight wickets.

The victory raises the team’s winning record since joining Brendon McCollum and Ben Stokes to nine of ten games, making next summer’s Ashes series even more predictable.

Sportsmail’s cricket experts here discuss the importance of the England Test team to the rest of the world, whether Jonny Bristow can return to the side, and whether Rehan Ahmed should play in the 2023 Ashes series.

Brendon McCollum and Ben Stokes have won nine of their ten Tests as head coach and captain

Brendon McCollum and Ben Stokes have won nine of their ten Tests as head coach and captain

England are the most exciting team in the world – are they also the most important?

Nasir Hussain: I’m not sure how England’s style affects the way other teams play. It’s hard enough to change the culture of one side, let alone anyone else.

But we can safely say that their transformation has been remarkable. And they’ve got people talking about Test cricket a lot – they’re so important.

David Lloyd: I don’t agree, Nasser, because I think other teams will follow suit. They will have to!

England sealed a narrow win over Pakistan after claiming their third win on Tuesday

England sealed a narrow win over Pakistan after claiming their third win on Tuesday

Not just in the men’s game – this could be a game changer for women’s cricket as well. It has a great following but could start with this approach. We want to get young people involved – so the game must be exciting.

Paul Newman: I’m with you, Bumble. It’s Ben Stokes and Brendon McCollum’s mission to save cricket with a brand new approach and everyone needs to get on board – even the pragmatic South Africans. England is the most important because it can inspire a new generation.

Lawrence Booth: Test cricket has always needed England, because they take the format as seriously as anyone else. But now they’ve achieved something very few Test teams have succeeded in – they’ve created a sensation, and the magic is seeing how opponents try to handle it. This is great for the game.

Rehan Ahmed has taken five runs for 48 runs on his Test debut at just 18 years and 128 days

Rehan Ahmed has taken five runs for 48 runs on his Test debut at just 18 years and 128 days

Can Bazball run in Ashes and India?

Booth: People keep asking the question, and England keeps providing the answer. No one has managed them yet, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be successful against Australia, who – don’t forget – haven’t won a Test series in England since 2001.

India away in early 2024 will be the biggest test.

Lloyd: I can see teams getting ready with England and that in itself means they can succeed. Remember, Lawrence, Australia can tell they started it all when Steve Wow got them going at four.

India are the great test but they will be under pressure to play this way too. It is changing the face of all cricket.

Ben Duckett has made an immediate impact since he topped the rankings in Pakistan

Ben Duckett has made an immediate impact since he topped the rankings in Pakistan

Hussain: Well, it worked in Pakistan, and people weren’t sure it would! India will be a different challenge as their stadiums are shifting.

But for me, bumblebee, the biggest test will be against the Australian four seamers and Nathan Lyon. Having said all this, can we enjoy what they did in Pakistan?

Newman: I think we can all agree on that. Why not work against Australia and India? It’s been great seeing more and more people join Bazball, but there are still a few pessimists who keep saying “what if?”

We will all have to accept that the lottery, like history, is now fragile.

How does Bairstow enter? Is Duquette here long?

Lloyd: That’s what Jonny Bristow would think! But he can hit anywhere and he can take the gloves off.

I don’t know what you guys felt but I didn’t see Duquette coming. Is it an opener? Someone saw him in it and he did well. It’s in possession, so it stays.

Jonny Bairstow starred for England during the Summer Tests

Jonny Bairstow starred for England during the Summer Tests

Hussain: If Johnny is fit, he has enough credit in the bank to go back to. It might be rough on Ben Foakes, but then I never took the glove off Bairstow in the first place.

For Duquette, New Zealand will be a big test. If he plays moving ball well, and then makes early season runs in England, he deserves to start the Ashes.

Booth: I hate to say it, but Bairstow’s return is probably bad news for Fox, who may have had a taste of things to come when England favored Olly Pope to keep wicket for Multan.

Otherwise, who will fall? Les Duckett, who was England’s second-best player in Pakistan behind Harry Brook.

Newman: Once Bairstow is fit, he has to play. And yes, even if I feel like Foakes is giving way, bumblebee, I grudgingly agree.

Word was late last summer that Rob Key thought Duckett was perfect for this style – not just in Pakistan – so he stayed. But if he struggles in New Zealand, it could be Johnny’s way back.

Which spin should England choose in New Zealand in February?

Jack Leach has taken more Test wickets than any bowler in 2022 so far

Jack Leach has taken more Test wickets than any bowler in 2022 so far

Newman: Jack Leach has taken more Test wicket than anyone else in 2022 and he’s been brilliantly handled by Stokes, but he may have hit his limit.

England breaking with all conventions, Rehan Ahmed was inspired to throw in Karachi. Why don’t you continue?

Hussain: No Paul, it should be Leach, who gives you the control you need in England. It’s different in Pakistan – Ahmed showed it helps that the second circle has some ambiguity.

If he keeps working on his beating, he can challenge the lich. He needs to play as much cricket as possible – red or white ball.

Booth: In New Zealand, I would choose Ahmed, because the pitches will be flat and you will need a footballer who can hit both ends of the bat.

In England, it is more difficult. Leach understands his role, as he demonstrated when he took 10 wickets against New Zealand at Headingley. But he will need to keep performing to keep Ahmed at arm’s length.

Lloyd: Can we be sure that Ahmed won’t end up carrying drinks if he doesn’t play? I think Leach plays in New Zealand but against Australia? If we get good weather, good pitches and good borders, go for the roller coaster.

Teenage Ahmed could push Leach to get his place in the side if he can work on his batting

Teenage Ahmed could push Leach to get his place in the side if he can work on his batting

What is your squad for the first Ashes test?

Lloyd: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Bairstow, Ahmed, Wood, Robinson, Anderson.

Jack Russell would kill me for not picking Foakes and I know I spoke of the virtues of a top-level guard but Bairstow is a decent guard too. And you have to enter it.

Booth: Crawley, Duquette, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Woakes, Robinson, Archer, Anderson.

The headache is the onslaught of bowling, especially if Jofra Archer is available again. And it’s tough on both Stewart Broad and Mark Wood. But England will rotate as the series progresses, and Leach will also play a part.

No player has more runs in 2022 than former captain Joe Root (1098), who leads Australia’s Ousmane Khamaja by 13.

Hussain: Crawley, Duquette, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Bairstow (wkt), Robinson, Wood, Leach, Anderson.

It depends a little bit on what happens against New Zealand and Ireland, but I like the fact that this team believes in the players. Broad could come later in the series, especially if David Warner opens up.

Newman: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Bairstow, Ahmed, Wood, Robinson, Anderson.

I hate to leave Foakes and Broad but what depth England have now. And of course, if Archer is fit he should play sooner rather than later. What a contradiction since the beginning of this year! From zeros to champions with more to come… Bring on the Australians.

Jofra Archer could return straight to the side once he returns from a long-term injury

Jofra Archer could return straight to the side once he returns from a long-term injury

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