MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

I am full of admiration for India's bench strength: Ben Stokes

England won the Hyderabad Test to go up 1-0 but from thereon they resembled a jalopy under constant pressure from hosts under Rohit Sharma to lose the series 1-4

PTI Dharamsala Published 09.03.24, 07:02 PM
England's Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and others during the award ceremony after India won the fifth Test cricket match over England, in Dharamsala, Saturday, March 9, 2024. India win the five-match series 4-1

England's Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and others during the award ceremony after India won the fifth Test cricket match over England, in Dharamsala, Saturday, March 9, 2024. India win the five-match series 4-1 PTI

England captain Ben Stokes on Saturday said staying true to the 'Bazball' approach did not work and conceded that India were too good in their own conditions, always finding a way to wriggle out of tight curves.

England won the Hyderabad Test to go up 1-0 but from thereon they resembled a jalopy under constant pressure from hosts under Rohit Sharma to lose the series 1-4.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I'm full of admiration for India and the beast they are in their home conditions. Obviously, a lot was said about certain (Indian) players not being here. But this series has shown the depth of Indian cricket," Stokes said in the post-match press conference, speaking about absence of senior players like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami.

"We have seen a lot of young players come in and do extremely well (for India). Since that first game, India have been the much better team and obviously 4-1 reflects that." England came into the five-match series after extensive preparation in Abu Dhabi and even amidst the rubber they flew back to the Middle East nation for further ironing out the creases.

But all of those efforts did not bring the desired result for England.

Stokes was understandably disappointed.

"I’m very disappointed, not only in myself but I'm disappointed for the team because of how much hard work has gone into this tour itself. If we weren’t disappointed, if we weren’t frustrated at how the series has ended up, I don't really know what other emotions you could have,” said Stokes.

The Durham man accepted that they were outplayed by a far superior side.

“We came here with very high hopes and confident about what we could achieve and started off very well. But obviously losing the series 1-4, not just myself but the team are big enough to say we've been completely outplayed in the last four games,” said Stokes.

So, what caused England’s downfall after that bright start at Hyderabad where Ollie Pope’s miracle hundred turned the tide for them? “The team who seizes those opportunities and moments, theirs are the team that are going to come out on top. Whenever we managed to wrestle back any type of momentum with the ball or bat, India were always able to put it back on to us.

“That was where the Tests after the first one were won and lost. It's obviously very disappointing. But I'm always man enough to say that we got beaten by the better team,” he detailed.

'Ignore 'Bazball' at your own peril'

However, Stokes did not see the series defeat as a failure of the cricketing ethos that England have been following under him and coach Brendon McCullum.

"Failure is a great teacher to sports teams. You either let failure and disappointment eat you up, but you can learn from failures and you make sure you don't lose the enthusiasm of what we do.

"We've got a massive summer coming up with six home Tests – Pakistan and New Zealand. I am obviously disappointed but write this team off, write me off at your own peril," the all-rounder said.

Stokes reserved a special word of accolade for pacer James Anderson, who picked up his 700th Test wicket during the Dharamsala Test.

"Jimmy takes everything in his stride. He doesn’t play the game for the milestones. He plays for his team-mates and England. It was a pretty subdued celebration for 700. He’s just an unbelievable ambassador for the game and fast bowling." “If someone came up to me and said: who should I emulate if I want to be a good fast bowler, the first name I’d say is Jimmy Anderson,” he said.

Stokes viewed his bowling here, a first since last year’s Ashes, and the efforts of batters Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir as some of the positives from the series.

Would bowl more in days to come

Stokes promised to work on his bowling harder in the days to come.

"I was just so focused to run in and get it down as hard and fast as I could. That's why you didn't see too much emotion. But I just love being back in the game with the ball in hand.

"I know how much that helps the team, the dynamic. I will go back and work even harder to make sure in the summer I'll play a full role as an all-rounder," he signed off.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT