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India vs England: Ben Stokes unconcerned with milestones as he prepares for 100th Test

India vs England: Ben Stokes unconcerned with milestones as he prepares for 100th Test

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Rajkot's leading cricket writer

video caption,

Stokes changed the game – Bob

India vs England, 3rd Test

place: Rajkot Dates:February 15-19 time: 04:00 GMT

coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app with audio files of the daily Test match on BBC Sounds

Captain Ben Stokes says his 100th cap is “just a number” as he prepares to become the 16th man to reach a Test century for England.

Stokes, 32, will reach the milestone when he leads England in the third Test against India in Rajkot on Thursday.

“Every test is as important as the next,” Stokes said. “Then there's the next one, which will be 101 – it's just another one.

“It's a sign of longevity, but 99, 100 or 101 doesn't make much difference.”

All-rounder Stokes made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide in 2013.

He went on to have one of the most famous and successful careers in the history of English cricket.

“It's just a number,” the Durham man said. “I don't want it to sound like I'm not grateful for the opportunities I've been given, but with milestones, it's not done until it's done.”

Stokes announced his arrival in Test cricket after only a century for his second match, against a Mitchell Johnson-led Australia attack on a foul pitch in Perth.

Other highlights include an all-round performance to help defeat New Zealand at Lord's in 2015 and a stunning 258 off 198 balls against South Africa in Cape Town in 2016.

Stokes' crowning glory in Test cricket came in the 2019 Headingley Ashes Test, when his unbeaten 135 took England to one of their greatest victories.

Stokes, who also starred in two World Cup final victories in white-ball cricket, became Test captain in 2022 and has revolutionized the England side, leading them to 14 wins from 20 matches since taking charge.

“There will be a time when I can think a little more,” Stokes said.

“While I'm still playing and want to achieve a lot, leading the team and giving individuals their best platform to succeed is all my thoughts at the moment.”

Stokes' 128 sixes are the most hit by any batsman in Test cricket.

With 6,251 Test runs and 197 wickets, Stokes is on the verge of becoming only the third man to achieve the double of 6,000 runs and 200 wickets after the greats Jacques Kallis and Sir Garfield Sobers.

However, a chronic knee injury hampered Stokes' bowling and he could only manage four Test wickets in 2023.

He underwent surgery in November and will not play during the series in India, but has been bowling in training in the hope that he can play a full role as an all-rounder in the home summer.

He said Tuesday that he's throwing threes at about 70% intensity.

“It's few and many now,” Stokes said. “We don't have a plan on where I'm going to go with all my strength. That's how I feel at the time, but also not very far ahead.

“The rest of my body has to keep up with the pace bowling and this was another step forward.”

Stokes confirmed that England have named a 12-man squad for the third Test, with fast bowler Mark Wood added to the XI that was beaten in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

England have appointed just one specialist seamer for each of the first two Tests, but the Rajkot pitch appears to have a green turf cover.

Wood could come in to partner James Anderson, making room for one of the trio of Shoaib Bashir, Rehan Ahmed or Tom Hartley.

The five-match series is set for a 1-1 draw with three matches remaining as England look to become the first team since 2012 to win a Test series in this country.

“It sets him up for a good series,” Stokes said. “If we play our cricket to the best of our ability, we know the results will take care of themselves.”

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