Rehan Ahmed opens up on Ben Stokes’ support on India tour

England’s young wrist spinner Rehan Ahmed has credited captain Ben Stokes for the spinners’ success in the ongoing India tour. The five-game series is level at 1-1 with the third game set to be played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on 15 February.

The spin trio of Ahmed, Tom Hartley, and Shoaib Bashir, who had played only one Test between them before the Test series against India have jointly claimed 26 wickets in two games. Ahmed has so far picked up eight wickets while Hartley and Bashir grabbed 14 and four wickets, respectively. Notably, it is more than that of India’s experienced line-up. Given this, Ahmed stated that the kind of leadership they have assisted them to focus on their game instead of stressing that they were playing against the batters who were very good against spin.

“That just shows how great the team environment is. Tommy (Tom Hartley) and Bash (Shoaib Bashir), you’ve seen them come in and not be nervous and that’s credit to the team. The environment and the leadership we have, it does make you kind of forget the players you are playing against – we just focus on what we need to do. They [Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum] just don’t care about how bad things can go. It’s always about what good you can get out of it. So if I bowl four bad balls and get a wicket, that’s better than bowling 16 good balls in a row,” Ahmed was quoted as saying by BBC.

Ahmed further spoke about Stokes’ pleasing manner when the England captain gave himself and Bashir time off for Friday prayers.

“I remember a time in Abu Dhabi where there was a team day out on a Friday. We had Friday prayers. Obviously me and Bash [Bashir] were there. I messaged Wayno [Wayne Bentley], the team manager, asking if we could miss this day because we needed to pray. Stokes messaged me straight away and said ‘come to me whenever you want about this kind of stuff, I understand it fully’. And yes he’s stuck by his word. Every time I pray he is so respectful, very understanding. Everyone is on this tour,” he added.

I reckon he is the best keeper in the world: Ahmed on Ben Foakes

He went on to praise wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes who is one of the reasons for the form of England’s young spin attack. In addition, Ahmed, who made his Test debut in December 2022, has made all three Test appearances alongside Foakes.

“I have never seen anyone as good as him. I reckon he is the best keeper in the world, ever. He trains so hard. I just don’t see him miss a ball. I can’t even explain how good he is. A couple of those catches [in the second Test] he took 80-90 overs into the game. It’s very hot, it’s humid and he is still taking those types of catches,” he concluded.