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Animated outbursts isn’t our way of operating, says Stokes in reference to Kohli’s body language


PTI, Mar 26, 2021, 9:54 AM IST

Mumbai: Animated and aggressive body language might work well for Virat Kohli and his Indian team but that doesn’t have a bearing on England’s modus operandi, said their premier all-rounder Ben Stokes.

The statement was in reference to India captain Kohli’s aggressive, in-your-face demeanour while fielding or celebrating the fall of a wicket.

“Every team and every player has a certain way of operating in the field, which makes them successful. As a team over the last four to five years, that’s not the way that works for us,” said Stokes on the eve of their must-win second ODI against India.

“We stick to what we do best and what we make is we build a better side,” said the dashing all-rounder. “Each team is entitled to their own way of operations. India have theirs and we have ours.”

Asked whether he preferred a “nice or spiky” Virat, Stokes gave a smart reply: “Personally, I prefer a Virat that doesn’t get runs because that’s not good for us.”

After their 66-run loss in the first ODI, England are at risk of losing their number 1 ranking but Stokes said that it was not their driving force.

“We deserve to be number 1 because of our results and how we played our cricket and we won’t go away from that. Being number 1 is obviously a fantastic thing to have next to your name as a team but it’s not our driving force.

“Our driving force is the way that we go about it and our attitude towards playing the game. And that’s what’s made us be successful and the more successful we are obviously, the more chance and the more opportunity we’ve got to be at number 1.”

In absence of Joe Root, the England all-rounder was promoted to the No. 3 spot from being a finisher. Stokes revealed that he’s not changing his mindset for the new role on suggestion of the designated England No. 3.

“I did actually message Root just asking about his mindset at No. 3. He was pretty clear to me and just said ‘play the way that you play’. Just because he plays a certain way doesn’t mean that I need to try and play like him.

“At No. 3, potentially, I would be facing 100 balls, compared to maybe 60-70 like I normally do. I haven’t looked to change too much, just might be facing a slightly different situation, especially when I’m starting off my innings.”

While there would be comparisons with Root, Stokes would ideally prefer to follow the Test captain’s mantra.

“There’s gonna be talk whoever is going to fill that place with Root not being here. People will keep talking but I’ll just go out and do what I’ve been asked to do.”

Stokes is also likely to open for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL but the all-rounder said it would have no bearing on where he bats for England in the T20 World Cup. “It’s a talking point and it always seems to pop up but everyone deserves to be where they are in that batting lineup. Why do we change that?” he asked.

He feels that in the England line-up, each person has got his slot deservingly.

“In our T20 batting line-up, everyone deserves to be where they deserve to play. We’ve been formidable in the white-ball format for over a number of years. Just because we lost the T20 series doesn’t mean we need to start changing things around.” With twin injury blows to Eoin Morgan (split webbing) and Sam Billings (collar bone), England may hand a debut to Liam Livingstone, four years after he represented the country in T20Is.

Stokes is confident that a “fearless” Livingstone would embrace the opportunity if picked for the second ODI.

“He’s one of those guys that won’t let the occasion get on top of him if he had that opportunity. He’s a fearless cricketer. He’s got the type of attitude that we want to be involved in our set-up going forward,” he said.

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