Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has slammed England's umbrella fielding tactics against Australia's opener Usman Khawaja during the first Ashes Test, and referred to it as 'a field for TV', suggesting that such a defensive fielding strategy may not lead to breakthroughs.
Gavaskar's remark comes days after England lost the first Ashes Test by two wickets in a thriller at Edgbaston, trailing 0-1 in the five-match series.
"The Ashes series in England seems to have caught the imagination of the cricketing public there. England are batting with a freedom that has not been seen before and more shots, both orthodox and unorthodox are being played under the regime of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum than before the duo took over. That's where Bazball stops," Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
"While bowling England are not doing anything different from earlier times. Yes, the field placements have been novel, with three men in catching positions on both sides of the wicket. Two fielders on either side of the pitch have been seen before and on air. I have called it a field for TV rather than one to actually get any wicket."
The 73-year-old further commented that England's Bazball approach during the Ashes opener was the main factor contributing to several dropped catches on the field.
England dropped six catches and missed one stumping (by Jonny Bairstow). Gavaskar emphasized that the specific style of play adopted by the English team was responsible for these missed opportunities.
"If anything, the few missed opportunities England had could have been easily pouched if these same fielders had been five to 10 paces back in the normal fielding positions. Upfront and that close the fielders had very little time to react to those hard, but uppish pulls, and so could barely get their hands to the catches," he added.
England will set their sights on leveling the five-match series as they take on Australia in the second game on June 28 at Lord's.