Ben Stokes reacts to criticism surrounding Bazball

Ahead of the fourth Test match against India, England skipper Ben Stokes stated that he is unfazed by the recent criticism surrounding the team’s ‘Bazball’ approach. A mammoth loss by 434 runs in Rajkot elicited criticism on the Stokes-led side as many former cricketers pointed out that the players should play as per the situation and not try to go out of their way to score runs. Most of the criticism was directed towards former captain Joe Root, who got out while playing a reverse scoop to Jasprit Bumrah in England’s first innings of the third Test.

It led to a significant backlash against the concept of Bazball. However, Stokes took it in his stride and stated that things like that are a part of the sport and he is aware that if the team fails to put up a show, the fans back home would criticize.

“No, it’s sport, innit. You get plaudits when it goes well and a bit of s**t when it doesn’t. It’s part of it. I’ve been around long enough to know that, but we crack on,” Stokes was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

England’s tour of India has been marked by a conscious endeavor to not complain about pitches. The team recognized that curating surfaces on their terms was India’s prerogative, and have decided to deal with it. The preparation in Abu Dhabi, on raked, sand-laced strips, was done with this mindset. Despite some DRS grievances, the pitches in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, and Rajkot have rewarded high-quality cricket, with England winning the first one, and India bouncing back with two back-to-back victories.

However, things are set to take a turn at Ranchi. The JSCA International Stadium greeted the tourists with an odd-looking 22-yard strip. Cracked and with plates that players expect to shift under pressure, it has left the visitors intrigued. Stokes initially failed to describe it but later called it ‘very dark and crumbly’.

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen something like that before so I have got no idea. I don’t know what could happen. If you looked down one side of opposite ends it just looked different to what I am used to seeing, especially out in India. It looked green and grassy up in the changing rooms, but then you go out there, it looked different. Very dark and crumbly and quite a few cracks on it,” Stokes noted.

Despite the challenges, England remains committed to their Bazball mentality. Stokes and his team believe in their ability to win, no matter the conditions on offer.