Ben Stokes has stated that the English stars should start avoiding and ignoring the pundits and their opinions and instead should focus on Joe Root and the management’s opinion. Stokes also admitted that he lost five kilos during the last week of the Test series alongside several teammates.
England took a shocking lead in the series, against India in the opening fixture in Chennai, where they battled heat, spin and put on a show in the first innings, which propelled their victory. However, come to the second Test, the conditions on offer were drastically different, with the ball turning from day one, which allowed the hosts to claw their way back in the series.
From thereon, it was a one-sided show, as England crashed to a 1-3 defeat against India, failing to read the turn, which led to a lot of criticism for the Three Lions. One of England’s key players, Ben Stokes stated that the English stars need to ignore the pundits and instead should focus on Joe Root and the management’s opinions, which matter more.
“Pundits have a job to do and that's fine, but their responsibility isn't to make us better players and a better team. That is our job and that is what we have to focus on,” Stokes wrote in his column for Mirror.
“The opinions that really matter are those of your captain, your coaches and your team-mates who are trying to make the team and you as a player as good as you can be. Of course there are technical areas we all need to work on as individuals, and there is no doubt that we will be doing just that as we try to build again in the summer,” he added.
Stokes also insisted that it ‘vital’ for the young players to not lose faith in their own gameplay, adding that they are all still good enough to belong at the highest level of the game.
“I wouldn't want any player, especially a young lad like Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley or Dom Sibley, leaving this tour and thinking they are not good enough to be here. They most definitely are,” he added.
The all-rounder also revealed that during the last week of the Test series, there were at least three English players, who had lost weight. While Stokes added that he lost five kilos during the last week, Dominic Sibley lost four while James Anderson lost three.
“Players are totally committed to England and I think that was emphasised last week when a few of us went down with illness that made operating in 41 degree heat particularly taxing. I lost 5kg in a week, Dom Sibley 4kg and Jimmy Anderson 3kg among others. Jack Leach was ducking off the field in between bowling spells and spending more time than is ideal in the toilet.”
"This is in no way an excuse, because everyone was ready to play, and India and Rishabh Pant especially produced a terrific performance, but I take off my hat to the effort that was put in by players who gave everything they had to try and win for England," he concluded.