‘Everyone has an opinion…’: Ben Stokes stands by ‘Bazball’ despite India shellacking | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Despite one of England’s most substantial Test defeats, Ben Stokes remains steadfast in his belief in their high-risk approach, and the touring captain is optimistic about their chances of winning the five-Test series in India.
The bold tactics employed by Stokes and coach Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum have injected vitality into Test cricket. Facing India, a team that has not lost a Test series on home soil since 2012, was always going to be a litmus test for this philosophy.
In the third match in Rajkot, India handed England a crushing defeat by 434 runs, marking their most significant margin of victory in terms of runs.Despite criticism that the approach borders on recklessness, Stokes remains committed to ‘Bazball.’
“Everyone has an opinion or a perception of things but the people in the dressing room really matter to us,” Stokes said after the chastening loss on Sunday.
“We know things don’t always work out exactly how you want them to. We are 2-1 down and have a chance to win 3-2.
“We will leave this game behind us. We have to win the next two to win the series and that’s what we will be trying to do.”
Controversy has surrounded discussions regarding suboptimal shot choices made by the England batters, with Joe Root’s inadvisable reverse scoop being a focal point that initiated a collapse in their first innings.
In response to India’s first-innings total of 445, England found themselves at 224-4 before eventually being dismissed for 319. In their second innings, while pursuing a record 557, the tourists could only muster 122 runs.
“It was about identifying the opportunity to push the scoreboard on and get as close to India’s total as possible,” Stokes said of their first innings.
“Sometime game-plans don’t work out, that’s just sport.”
They got a taste of their own medicine as India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal clobbered 12 sixes in his blistering unbeaten 214.
Home hero Ravindra Jadeja, however, pipped Jaiswal to the player-of-the-match award because of his match-haul of seven wickets to go with his first innings hundred.
India captain Rohit Sharma said he never lost faith in his bowlers even after Ben Duckett led England’s reply with a scintillating 153 on day two.
“Test cricket is not played over two days or three days. We understand the importance of staying in the game,” said Rohit, who top scored for India in the first innings with 131.
“England played well and put us under pressure but we have class bowlers and the message was to stay calm.
“It is easy to drift away from what you do as a team but I am really proud of how we came back.”
(With inputs from Reuters)

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