Almanac Cricket: A BazBall Glossary


Curious about the new cricket phenomenon commonly referred to as BazBall, spending a week in a dull drizzly Manchester has allowed me the time and presence of mind to gather intel from the frontline. Some of my findings may surprise, some may not. But hopefully, once you pore over this glossary – meticulously compiled at a windswept and rain-drenched Old Trafford – you too will be au fait with the mysteries of the greatest spectacle to ever have associated itself with the great game.


(Note that additional research for this project was undertaken at the following Manchester landmarks: The Old Monkey, The Vine, The Ape and Apple, The Bull’s Head, The Waldorf, The Director’s Box, and Sam’s Chophouse).


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Catches: down the years, it has often been said that they win matches. Even in the BazBall era, I am yet to see evidence to the contrary, particularly given the number of chances shelled by England early in the series.


Cheating: a reminder to the English fans who subjected Australian supporters to this nonsense even in downtown Manchester – using sandpaper was cheating, the Carey-Bairstow incident was not.


Conditions, Best of: something which BazBall relies on receiving. For all of Crawley’s heroics in Manchester, I’d like to see he and Duckett trooping out to bat on the decks that Australia has been sent in on. Indeed, one could argue that on at least one occasion, Stokes’ decision to bowl first belied the faith he has in his batting line-up.


Cult: another word for BazBall. In years to come, will we be reading books on the ‘hidden’ side of BazBall? In the words of Heidi Klum, you are either in – or you are out!


Declaration: a rule of cricket of which only coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes know the true meaning. Declaration late on the first day of the First Test? We had enough runs on the board. Declaration on the third day of the Fourth Test when all weather reports were advising spectators to build an ark on Day 5? We wanted to give Jonny the chance to reach a personal milestone (a bemusing decision totally at odds with the BazBall ‘team first’ ethos). Indeed, Stokes claimed that anyone who questioned his decision not to declare did not know cricket.


Entertainment: the overarching BazBall concept, which is even more important than winning. Alas, with it comes massive doses of hubris, and lines such as “that’s the way we play” when the collapse is on as it was at Lord’s.


Media: a sycophantic group of cult followers who dare not question any aspect of BazBall.


‘Pink Ball’ / 10:30am start / 10:00pm finish / Reserve Day: a grab-bag of some of the ideas thrown around by frustrated BazBallists and pundits alike upon discovering that the weather was not for changing. Ranging from the reasonable to the absurd.


Spirit of Cricket: an ethereal concept which only seems to be used when the English cricket team feel it might have been wronged. Its invocation also has the power induce ‘selective memory’ in BazBallists.


2-1: the current Ashes score line.


3-1: the series score line if Australia were to win the final Test at The Oval.


Weather: although BazBall cultists regard themselves as a higher authority on all things cricket, they are yet to discover how they might stop rain from falling from the sky and washing out a Test match.



In a Manchester pub, Smokie explains the mysteries of BazBall to his mate Matt.


You can read more from Smokie HERE


Read more BazBall comment (The Muse and Peter Baulderstone) HERE.



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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Hayden Kelly says

    Well played Smokey . Some of England’s selections defy logic especially Bairstow and Jimmy . Stokes in game decision making has been questionable at best but in the cult of Bazball accountability is irrelevant it would seem .

  2. Tony Taylor says

    Is Matt a Pom? If so, he can spread the word among his fellow cultist that an unfortunate loss or draw isn’t a reason to change the rules.

  3. John Harms says

    Nice Smoke. The photo is a gem – assuming he’s a To and From.

  4. Rulebook says

    Superb Smokie you absolutely nail it

  5. Good one Smokie. The singing syrup has clearly got the grey matter activated.
    Suggestion for Bazball cultists: All away tests should be played in Perth. It never rains from December to March. The drop in pitch at Optus should produce 1,000 run first innings for both sides. 0-0 over 5 Tests.
    Home tests should be played in Gibraltar. No rain. Easy access for the thousands of Brexit refugees migrated to the Costa Del Sol and the Algarve. The lack of flat land should provide 50 run innings. Series decided on coin tosses – just like Two Up. With the games over by Day 2 so fans can return to the bars and golf courses. Suits me fine.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    Top read. Article and comments. Haven’t managed to catch up on TFA until now. Looking forward to reading other posts after attending Lords and Headingly.

  7. Matt Hernan says

    Nice work, as usual, Smokie. You have unmasked “Bazball “ as another excuse for the Poms to have a whinge.

  8. Warwick Nolan says

    Nice work Smokie. Enjoyed this piece.

    Bazball seems to have endowed even the casual English punter with a wisdom and an insight not identified by any other generation since 1876.

    But most Victorians will be well aware of this phenomenon – the sudden acquisition of unparalleled wisdom and expertise. Similar to the metamorphosis observed in barrackers in the months that follow an AFL premiership?

  9. roger lowrey says

    Great work Smokester. Loved it.

    Hope you are having a marvellous time. Very envious where I sit!


  10. Ah, thanks for your comments, all.

    I can confirm that Matt is an old mate from home

  11. Bazball initially made me curious, and I wondered what it might mean for the Ashes. Now with its intolerable ego and fatal inability to see the truth in the simplest of situations it looks entirely stolen from the Trump playbook.

    Thanks Smokie. Looking forward to reading more about your tour of duty.

  12. E.regnans says

    Excellent dispatch from the Front Line, Smoke.

    From way back here, Bazball seems to be slang for: If In Doubt, Attack. If Not In Doubt, Attack Anyway.
    I like it.
    If the ability to catch had been prioritised in the Pom’s selection of wicket-keeper, Australia might be cooked by now. If you see Pat – let him know that I’d like to see those Pommy openers deal with an attacking field – at least while the ball is new and fielders excited to be alive. If only for the first dozen overs or so.

    Quite apart from Bazball – that Pommy holier-than-thou whingeing has been World Class.

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Well played Smokie, all looks correct to me.
    Enjoying following your trip!

  14. Good stuff Smokie.

    This Spirit of Cricket stuff seems to be a spin off of Bazball, or visa versa. However English whining predates all.

    Enjoy your time over there.


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