Potts: Durham to replicate ‘Bazball’ approach at county level
Matthew Potts says Durham will try and do for county cricket what England have done for the Test game, replicating the so-called ‘Bazball’ blueprint.
Potts played five times under captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum last summer, impressing with 20 wickets taken at an average of 28 apiece.
The experience made him a true believer in the fearless approach the pair have instilled into the England set-up, and he now wishes to replicate it with Durham when the County Championship gets under way next week.
“Everyone was saying Test cricket was dying,” Potts said. “Well, I don’t see that now, do you?
“Not from what I was part of last summer, not from what I’ve seen since.
“You want to entertain. How else do we keep this sport going and keep the finances coming in to keep everything running around the country? You need people buying tickets.
“That’s what we’re about – giving back to the people that support us something that’s exciting, refreshing.
“At Durham we’re going to try and mirror to some extent what the England team are doing.
“That aligns with the values we have here. We want to be brave, we want to always take the positive option and put our best foot forward.”
‘Draw doesn’t go through my head’ | ‘Worse than a loss’
Durham drew eight of their 14 games in Division Two of the County Championship last season, but Potts is keen to eradicate that possibility entirely as part of the team’s new approach.
Potts was watching in February as England lost an unforgettable final Test against New Zealand by a single run, having asked the hosts to follow on and having needed only a draw to claim a series win.
“Are people going to buy tickets based on what they saw in Wellington? Absolutely,” Potts said. “Anyone that paid to see that Test match absolutely got their money’s worth.
“We want to win at all costs and the cost that time was losing. You roll the dice, because it’s better than not rolling the dice.”
He added: “[A draw] it’s worse than a loss. You’d rather lose every game this year and know you’re doing it with the right intent to try and win the game.
“The draw doesn’t go through my head. We’ve always felt a draw is a last resort, but a loss is better now.
“If we do get a draw it won’t be because we’ve created it, it will be us bowling to win and someone else blocking out. That’s not how we want to play.”
‘Ashes selection would be a dream’
On a personal level, the 24-year-old Potts is looking to replicate his superb start to the 2022 domestic season when he took 58 wickets at average of 17.87 to catapult himself into the England set-up for the first time.
England’s deep fast-bowling stocks have crowded him out over the winter but, with a densely-packed Ashes campaign on the horizon this summer, he is focused on the task at hand at Durham in the hope of knocking at the door.
“An Ashes summer is a dream, it has been since I was a little boy, but you can’t let that obscure what’s before,” he said.
“There’s a long time before the Ashes starts. There’s a lot that needs to go on, wearing the Durham badge first and foremost.
“I think England know what I’m capable of, I’ve shown a glimpse of that, but the skill is to keep doing it year on year.
“This year is a big challenge to bolster the performances from last season and the way I get into that team is just continuously knocking.”