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I've never seen something like that before: England captain Ben Stokes on Ranchi pitch

India are leading the five-match series 2-1 and the penultimate Test will start in Ranchi on February 23

PTI Ranchi Published 22.02.24, 10:25 AM
England's captain Ben Stokes during a practice session ahead of the fourth Test cricket match between India and England, at the JSCA International Stadium Complex, in Ranchi, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

England's captain Ben Stokes during a practice session ahead of the fourth Test cricket match between India and England, at the JSCA International Stadium Complex, in Ranchi, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 PTI

England captain Ben Stokes added spice to the talks on Ranchi pitch for the fourth Test against India, saying he has not seen anything remotely like the 22-yard strip here in the past.

India are leading the five-match series 2-1 and the penultimate Test will start here on Friday.

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However, discussion about the “platey cracks” on the pitch as described by England batter Ollie Pope has dominated the build-up to this Test.

Stokes added a touch of intrigue as well.

"It looked interesting, didn't it? I don't know. I can't say much. I don't know, I've never seen something like that before so I have no idea. I don't know what could happen," Stokes was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

It indeed was an ominous reading of the playing surface, if you are from the England camp.

But then Stokes had a reason for it as well. "If you looked down one side of opposite ends it just looked different to what I am used to seeing, especially out in India.

It looked green and grassy up in the changing-rooms, but then you go out there, it looked different. Very dark and crumbly and quite a few cracks in it," Stokes offered.

The nature of the pitch also delayed England making a decision on their playing 11. Pacer Ollie Robinson will come in for Mark Wood but the call to add fourth spinner in Shoaib Bashir or an extra batter in Dan Lawrence will have to wait for now.

Lawrence can also double up as a handy off-spinner.

"He's (Robinson) got unbelievable skills to be a successful bowler anywhere in the world. What we've seen in England is he's very skillful, but we've seen more than that in Pakistan.

"It's similar but different here, but the skill he possesses, he can find any movement, and his release point is always going to be dangerous," said Stokes.

So, will Stokes finally wear his bowling cloak? The Durham man remained a bit secretive.

"My knee itself was absolutely fine today bowling. It was just good to push past that 20-minute barrier, which is what I've been working around at the moment. It might be a bit stiff but we'll wait and see," he noted.

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

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