IND vs ENG 2022| Ben Stokes had three brain fades in 10 minutes, states Kevin Pietersen
Ben Stokes scored 25 runs in the first innings|
Kevin Pietersen has come down hard on skipper Ben Stokes for throwing away his wicket in an attempt to be aggressive despite having survived three close calls shortly before his dismissal. Pietersen went on to compare the innings with Bairstow’s knock, praising the latter for his controlled batting.
Ben Stokes’ innings on day three of the ongoing Edgbaston Test was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The English captain was quick to take charge against the Indian pace attack, stroking three boundaries in a knock of 25 runs off just 36 deliveries. However, in a crucial juncture of the game, Stokes failed to adapt his batting to the situation. The middle-order batsman was dropped two times by the opposition. The latest reprieve came when Jasprit Bumrah dropped a sitter at mid-off, only for Stokes to offer another catch to the Indian skipper the very next delivery.
The 31-year-old’s batting has triggered harsh criticism from former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who feels Stokes has devalued his wicket.
"I was watching Stokes run down the wicket and slog the ball straight into the air. It was reckless batting; it was not defending your wicket. Test match hundreds are valuable commodities, they mean a hell of a lot because of the stress, tension, patience and discipline. He had three brain fades in 10 minutes. That devaluing of his Test wicket may not be a good thing. He is too good a player to do this," Pietersen opined to Sky Sports.
An attacking batsman himself who played with flair, Pietersen offered calming advice for Stokes. A veteran of more than 8,000 Test runs, the former top-order batter stated the England skipper should be doing better given his talent.
"I would tell Ben that he doesn't need to try and prove a point by being ultra-aggressive. The bowler needs to be bowling his best deliveries in order to get Stokes out. At the moment, I see Stokes trying to command authority by running at bowlers. He doesn't need to do that when England are in strife. I would tell him to stand still and do what Bairstow is doing. He is too good a player to be doing what he is doing," he said.
Recently ascended to the role of a Test captain, Ben Stokes has been vocal about his intent to play aggressive cricket. Along with newly anointed head coach Brendon McCullum, he steered his side to an emphatic 3-0 victory against New Zealand using the same philosophy. A key component of the wins was Jonny Bairstow, who showed up yet again against India with a crucial century. Even though he scored with a strike rate of 75, the wicketkeeper batter was very calculated in his approach, earning praise from Kevin Pietersen.
"It's a new approach and entertaining, for sure. Stokes has been talking about that aggressive nature and the way he believes Test cricket needs to be played in this era. But Bairstow is playing with control. He is calm, and composed, is standing still, and playing the ball as he sees it. He is not running down the wicket, he is being calculated. There is no slogging at all, he is playing fabulously," the 42-year-old concluded.