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India vs England: Ben Stokes warns against writing off his team despite losing the series 4-1

India vs England: Ben Stokes warns against writing off his team despite losing the series 4-1

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Dharamsala's chief cricket writer

video caption, Ben Stokes recalls England's 4-1 defeat to India.

Captain Ben Stokes says anyone who dismisses him or his England team after their 4-1 defeat in India does so “at your own risk”.

A dismal batting display sent England to an innings and 64-run defeat in the final Test in Dharamsala.

England lost four matches after winning the first Test to suffer defeat in the first series under Stokes.

“We'll use this as inspiration to become a better team, that's the mentality we have,” Stokes said.

“Use it as fuel,” Al-Shamil added. “I've been through a lot of ups and downs, and that's what playing 100 Test matches throws at you. Ups and downs, making sure I use those tough moments to work harder.

“I always feel like I can't work harder, but I'm going to come out of this tour and go home and work harder than I did here next summer.”

Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum oversaw a massive boom in England's fortunes when he took over in 2022. Stokes and McCullum inherited a team that had won just one of their previous 17 Tests, winning 10 of their first 11 Tests as a captaincy duo.

But since then, England have lost seven of their past 12 matches, and are winless in three series. A 1-1 draw in New Zealand was followed by one win against Ireland, before a 2-2 draw in the Ashes and now this devastating loss.

“We were outplayed by the better team,” 32-year-old Stokes told BBC Sport. “I'm a big enough person and the team is big enough to say that.

“Cricket is a tough game. It can eat you up, mislead you or make you a better player. We are very disappointed, but write off this team, write me off at your own peril.”

England's reckless style of play, particularly in a successful 2022 summer at home, has been dubbed 'buzzball' after McCullum's nickname.

“The media uses the name Buzzbull. Everyone says, 'What is this?'” Stokes said. “In my opinion, it's the desire to be a better player. In the face of defeat and failure, we hope Bazzball will inspire people to become better players and become better than we are now.”

After dismissing India for 477 on the third morning in Dharamsala, England needed 259 to bowl the hosts out again.

But the number of tourists decreased to 113-6 due to misplaced attempts at aggression. Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Ben Fox were all guilty of ugly knocks against off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who celebrated his 100th Test with a score of 5-77.

Joe Root made 84 before he was finally out as England were bowled out for 195.

“Players come up with plans and try to execute them,” Stokes said. “When it comes to taking risks, it can be your downfall sometimes. Everyone goes out there with intentions, but it doesn't always pay off.”

Bowler James Anderson took India's first wicket to fall on Saturday morning to become the first bowler to reach 700 Test wickets. The 41-year-old had Kuldeep Yadav caught some 21 years after taking his maiden wicket on debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's.

He stands third on the all-time wicket-taker list, eight behind Australia great Shane Warne.

“He's been a great performer for a very long period of time now,” Stokes said. “He is an amazing athlete and one of the all-time greats.

“You have to think how much his body worked to achieve this feat. He is a complete and utter role model for anyone who wants to become a fast bowler.”

Stokes himself returned to bowling in Test cricket for the first time since July after having surgery on his left knee. With his first delivery in 251 days, Stokes bowled opposite number Rohit Sharma.

“Being able to get back to competitive bowling in this game has given me a huge boost. I know that me playing the all-rounder role really helps with the build-up of the team,” Stokes said.

“I'm looking forward to coming back in the summer and playing a role as a hitter, slugger and captain.”

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