Adaptability will be key in T20 World Cup semis: Ben Stokes | Cricket News



ADELAIDE: Perhaps Ben Stokes got a first real feel of the magnitude of England’s upcoming semifinal contest here when he was nearly mobbed by a strong Indian media contingent and bombarded with questions about Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav and even the probability of an India-Pakistan final!
“That will be big for you guys, isn’t it,” Stokes said in jest as the Indian and English media groups jostled for room by the side of the ground under a baking Adelaide sun. The rain and the cold which greeted India during the Bangladesh game was an aberration and the long, hot Australian summer has now begun in earnest.
The players too will feel the heat come Thursday. India and England will in all likelihood play on the same pitch used for theIreland-New Zealand and Australia-Afghanistan double header. Although a used pitch, the early evening conditions will be different and the ball may even skid on under lights, as Ravichandran Ashwin suggested earlier.
Adaptability, said Stokes, who is coming off a good game against Sri Lanka in Sydney, will be the key. “We’ll have to wait and see what the wicket does on Thursday,” he said. “It’s about assessing and adapting to whatever situation you have in front of you. We’ve been playing on big square boundaries and looking to try and get the batters to hit to them, but here (the Adelaide Oval has shorter square boundaries) we’re probably going to have to look to change our tactics. This is the crunch time. Thursday is all about which team turns up and can perform at their best. ”
Asked if spin would play a big role, even under lights, Stokes said, “I am pretty sure it will, but how big a role, I don’t know.”
The spotlight in these knockout games is invariably on the bigger players, and Stokes is aware that talk around Rohit Sharma’s lack of form will have no meaning.
“The likes of Rohit, they are world-class players. You can’t take anything from how he has performed in the previous games, especially in this format. We won’t be taking him lightly at all.”
Stokes seemed amazed a player of Kohli’s stature had to go through criticism for a string of below-par scores in the months leading up to the World Cup. “Virat could have four unbelievable years like he had and then have a not-so-loud couple of months, and then for some reason players like that will get written off. I’ve got no idea why. I think he’s earned the right to never be written off.”
England have not played their “best cricket” so far and trumping the likes of Suryakumar Yadav won’t be easy, according to Stokes. “He (‘SKY’) is in great form. Some of the shots he plays can leave you scratching your head! Hopefully we can try and shut him down. We know we need to get this game done on Thursday against a very strong Indian team. ”
Mark Wood an injury concern?
Pacer Mark Wood has been the fastest bowler on view in this World Cup but has pulled up sore ahead of the semis. Wood withdrew from training on Tuesday and England confirmed he had “general body stiffness”. While England will still be hoping Wood can take the field come Thursday, they are yet to take a call on Dawid Malan, who picked up a groin injury in the Sri Lanka game. Phil Salt is a likely replacement if Malan is ruled out.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here