By Kshvid News Desk
Stokes praises South Africa but defends playing style
Ben Stokes has reiterated that his team will not move away from their attacking brand of cricket after suffering an innings defeat in the first test against South Africa. England were bowled out for 165 and 149 in their two innings in the first test as the South African pace quartet dismantled the England batting line-up in under three days at Lord’s.
Stokes was questioned whether his team’s all-out approach was the reason for their collapse and he was quick to dismiss the claims, saying: “Absolutely not. I look at the captains before me, captains after me, they’re always going to get criticized at certain times about the way that they want to go out and play.
“That’s just part and parcel with life, I guess. We know when we perform to our capabilities we can go out and put in some incredible performances – like everyone’s been able to see in the four games before this one.
The England captain stressed that the loss in the first loss will not be a reality check for his side after going undefeated in test cricket against India and New Zealand.
“This isn’t a wake-up call or anything like that, just unfortunately we weren’t able to execute in the way we wanted to play this week and South Africa were better than us.”
Stokes raises scheduling concerns once again
The England skipper once again pointed out his team’s jam-packed schedule and a lack of first-class red-ball games in the build-up to the series.
“I don’t think I want to use that situation as an excuse whatsoever. We’ve all played a lot of cricket. There could be an opportunity maybe to put a first-class game in there for the lads to go off and just get out there in the field.”
The ECB has put the County Championship and domestic red-ball cricket in the country on hold to accommodate the Hundred in the summer calendar. This meant that the test stars had not played red-ball cricket for two months and looked under-cooked. Everyone in the test squad did have the option to feature in the 4-day practice match between the England Lions and South Africa but chose not to.
“Five weeks away for this group is obviously not ideal, but we’ve all been playing professional cricket for a number of years. We know how to play cricket. We don’t want to create an excuses-based culture.”
Stokes urges England to move on from 1st test failure
Stokes urged his team to respond in the 2nd test after a disastrous first test. “It’s obviously disappointing to lose a game. Deflating is a bit extreme. I just like to ride a wave of whatever comes.
“The way we responded after the first Test match just keeps to hammer home what we’re all about. You have to live in the moment and ride the wave, whether that be of success or failure.
“We’ve got two games left. If we hold on to this for too long, and carry baggage into the next game, we’re already one step behind South Africa. I want us to be a team where we’re one step ahead.”
Brendon McCullum: “England were beaten by the better horse in the race”
Brendon McCullum praised Dean Elgar’s team on their emphatic win in the first test, saying they fully deserved it. It was the first defeat the former New Zealand batsman suffered at the helm of English cricket after being appointed before the summer.
McCullum said the Proteas had won an importance toss and made full use of the favourable conditions at Lord’s on the first day. “I thought South Africa played exceptionally well, they utilised the conditions that they were presented with and they deserved the victory.
The England head coach said that there were still plenty of positives for his side and he was confident that his side will make a strong comeback in the next test. “We’ve got a little bit of work to do but you don’t go from being a good cricket team a few weeks ago to a bad team overnight so we’ll try and maintain some of those positives and the beauty is we get an opportunity to come back in a few days’ time.”
Like Stokes, McCullum too defended England’s gung-ho batting approach against a South African pace-attack. “I thought if anything we were maybe a touch timid.
“We want to be the best versions of ourselves. It’s not always going to work. As we said at the outset, you’ve got to buckle up for the ride. It’s not nice in times like this but we’ll come back stronger.”