Relentless in their 3-0 sweep of New Zealand, England captain Ben Stokes said there will be no let-up in intensity against India in the upcoming rescheduled fifth Test. Under the leadership of Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum, England recorded a phenomenal 3-0 win in the Test series against reigning WTC champions New Zealand, capping it off with a seven-wicket victory in the third and final match at Headingley. Stokes also praised former India skipper Virat Kohli’s captaincy style in Tests.
“To be honest, I was not even watching cricket last summer, I did not watch most of it (India-England Tests last summer). But the thing with India is, the way Virat led India in Tests, was something to watch. So yeah, looking forward to the contest again,” Stokes said .
The one-off Test against India, a part of last year’s five-match series, which was abandoned due to a COVID-19 outbreak, will begin at Edgbaston on Friday.
“Trust me when I say this. We’ll be coming out with exactly the same (aggressive) mindset, even though it’s a different opposition,” Stokes said on Monday.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a completely different… different opposition, with their attack and players as well.
“We’ll be concentrating on what we’ve done well over these last three games and look to continue that against India on Friday.”
The visitors are leading the five-match series 2-1 but will face a revitalised England, which comprise only four members — Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Bairstow and James Anderson — from last year’s fourth Test against the Indians.
Stokes himself was not available for the series last year as he had taken a break to focus on his mental health.
England endured a tough time in the last few months, winning just once in 17 Tests before the New Zealand series.
Praising his teammates for turning things around, Stokes said: “To walk away with a 3-0 series win over the best team in the world is a pretty special start.” “I’ve got to show a huge amount of testament to the team over these three games. They’ve been absolutely phenomenal.” Stokes took over the captaincy after Root relinquished the position following England’s 0-1 series defeat to the West Indies in April.
“When I took over this job, it was more than results for me. It was about changing the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket, about having fun, and enjoying the fact that you’re out there representing your country, and the results look after itself.
“But to say that we’ve done it so quickly is just unbelievable. I can only do so much, so I’ve got to show a huge amount of credit to Brendon, in the way that he’s come in and influenced this group.”
With PTI inputs