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Ben Stokes Resilient Amid Bazball Criticism

“Didn’t it look interesting? I’m not sure. I don’t have much to say. The answer Ben Stokes gave in India may have been the most polite one so far.

To prepare for this tour, England worked hard not to complain about the pitches. India had the right to make a field on their terms, just like any other team at home. It doesn’t help to complain about them; it just makes you look like losers and, worse, makes people in your group suspicious. The message inside the company was clear: just deal with it. With this in mind, the work was done in Abu Dhabi on cleared, sand-filled strips.

Ranchi Conditions

To be fair to DRS, they have mostly stuck to that. The fields at Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, and Rajkot have always been very good. They have changed over time to offer variety and, in the end, award quality. And with a score of 2-1, India has been the better team so far.

In a way, things are about to change at Ranchi. When the tourists got to the JSCA International Stadium, they saw a 22-yard strip that they thought looked strange. Two days before the game on Friday, it was already cracked, and some players expect the plates to move when they’re under a lot of stress.

When asked how it might go, Stokes said, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen something like that before, so I have no idea.” “I have no idea what might happen.”

Ben Stokes on Ranchi Conditions

When I was in India, I saw things that were very different from what I was used to seeing if I looked down one side from opposite ends. From the changing rooms, it looked like grass and green, but when you went outside, it looked different. It’s dark, crumbly, and has a lot of cracks in it.

England knew these circumstances would be the oddest of the series when Jasprit Bumrah was rested for the fourth Test. India won’t mind if their spinners get more in his absence after Bumrah’s 17 wickets at 13.64 in various conditions and deliveries. Particularly with a 2-1 lead.

England must endure. Vice-captain Ollie Pope said: “If it does spin from ball one, I guess it’s an even playing field”.

Stokes’ Selection Dilemma

Stokes is pondering returning to the spin-heavy attack of the first two Tests, but he will wait until Thursday to decide whether to replace James Anderson with off-spinner Shoaib Bashir. Dan Lawrence might replace Anderson in the batting if England expects a quick match with fast scoring in turning conditions. Though he has yet to play a Test under Stokes, England has praised his upbeat approach and sharp-turning off-spin.

Ollie Robinson will replace Mark Wood, who spent a lot of energy in the third Test loss and needs a break.

Robinson’s tour has been exciting. After being a main character in his last series, he has been mostly hidden. His last competitive encounter was the third Ashes Test at Headingley, where he played 11.2 overs in the first innings before retiring with a back spasm. He had been Australia’s major enemy up to that point, agitating off the field but contributing little on it with nine wickets at 28.40.

Stokes’ Selection Dilemma

These six months between the last of those 19 Test caps and this tour were well spent. In a fitness drive, he cut 20 seconds off his 2km time and looks slimmer and better prepared for India’s energy-sapping seamer work.

Robinson’s Resilience

Most crucially, Robinson has performed well in nets, emulating his performance in Pakistan last winter on comparable decks without seams. It was noticed.

“I think he has worked incredibly hard while he has been out here,” added Stokes. “It’s hard for someone like Ollie, who’s played such a significant role in the game over the last two years, to not play though his off-field work has been great.

I told him today that he’s a terrific example of doing the right thing and waiting your turn. Missing the first three Tests is difficult and disappointing. However, his will to get healthy and not allow disappointment deter him from a chance in this series.

Robinson’s Resilience

“He has an incredible ability to bowl any place in the globe. While skilled in England, he’s even more so in Pakistan. His talent allows him to find any movement, and his release point is always deadly.

“The skill endures. Since that 2022 conversation, he’s worked on everything I thought would maximize his and the team’s performance. If Ollie Robinson can bowl three spells and back it up the next day, any team will benefit.”

Adaptability and Resilience

This group can turn the tide. After an innings loss at Lord’s in the South Africa series two summers ago, two emphatic wins followed. Last summer, with the ethos under enormous duress, a 2-0 deficit to Australia was reversed spectacularly to tie the Ashes. Stokes says he wants to maintain “a pretty level vibe” in a match that may decide the series or send England to a third straight loss.

“It’s just what we’re good at, taking every game as it comes,” remarked. “We’ve done that since I became captain, and we’ll play our best.

“There will be good and bad days and games. We focus on playing our best cricket and sticking to our method. We’ll do that in this, the next, and other games.”

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