Ben Stokes plays down 100th Test landmark

Tags: England tour of India 2024,
India vs England 3rd Test at Rajkot, Feb 15-19, 2024,
Benjamin Andrew Stokes

Published on: Feb 15, 2024

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England captain Ben Stokes downplayed the occasion of featuring in his landmark 100th Test and said that he was look forward to the ‘theatre’ of playing against India in India

Stokes will become the 16th England cricketer to feature in 100 or more Tests when he leads the team in the third Test against India in Rajkot, which stars on Thursday. February 15. In the pre-match press conference, Stokes did not read too much into playing 100 Tests, but was instead focused on the bigger challenge at hand.

“Milestones are what they are. I’ve always enjoyed playing against India because of the contest, the theatre it brings,” he said, while replying to a query on his 100th Test match.

The India-England contest has been a close one so far. The visitors won the opening Test in Hyderabad by 28 runs, while India fought back in Visakhapatnam to win the second match by 106 runs.

Asked about the surface for the third Test in Rajkot, Stokes said that he does not want to have any preconceived notions on the surface.

“You look down and there’s a few cracks that meet up. Only time will tell if they will come into it. (I) don’t want to have too many preconceived ideas about pitches, but you do have to have some sort of idea which informs the XI you pick,” the all-rounder said.

During the media interaction, Stokes also praised Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who won the second Tests for the hosts with a sensational spell of bowling, claiming six wickets in the first innings and three in the second.

Stating that England don’t have any special plans in place to tackle Bumrah, Stokes commented, “Jasprit Bumrah is an unbelievable bowler. He’s proven that for a very long time and has performed really well in the two games. I think everyone has to go their own way of not trying to deal with Bumrah but we do have to score runs off him as well and that’s what we’ll try to do.

“But when that doesn’t work, you just have to give credit to the bowler and Jasprit’s been outstanding the first two games. We’ve all got our own processes against every single bowler and there’s no team way of playing anyone. But as we always try to do we’ll be trying to keep the focus around us,” he added.

Stokes also dismissed the analysis that Virat Kohli and K L Rahul’s absence from the Indian squad gives advantage to England. While Kohli has pulled out of the entire series, Rahul is out of action since the first Test due to a quadriceps injury.

“KL sustained an injury in the first game and that has kept him out. I said the other day that Virat not being here, I don’t like it being used as a benefit to us or a disadvantage to India. There is some specific reasons as to why he is not playing in this series and it should be left to that as opposed to an advantage or disadvantage to any side,” the England captain opined.

He also wished Kohli well and added, “I wish Virat with everything that’s going around and all our well wishes from the team. You want the best players playing and he is one of them. Hopefully he will be back on the field very soon.”

Meanwhile, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is on the verge of completing 500 Test scalps. He needs only one wicket to reach the landmark in Rajkot.

–By A Cricket Correspondent

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