Stokes: I don't regret leaving Stuart Broad out

England's stand-in skipper Ben Stokes believed that a target of 200 runs was not good enough to defend following the defeat to West Indies in the first Test.

Ben Stokes felt that England was fortunate to drop Stuart Broad out of the starting XI.   -  ap

England's stand-in captain Ben Stokes defended his decision to bat first and leaving out key pacer Stuart Broad for the first Test following the four-wicket loss to West Indies on Sunday.

The host was bowled out for 204 in the first innings under overcast conditions after Stokes won the toss and chose to bat. West Indies took a 114-run first innings lead which proved to be crucial.

"I would still have batted first, because first innings runs count. If we made 400-500 runs, we really would have taken it away. But it has been a massive learning curve for the batting line-up and the young guys," Stokes said in the post-match presentation.

Stokes came under scrutiny for dropping Broad, England's second-highest Test wicket-taker, in favour of Jofra Archer. The all-rounder, however, felt that England was fortunate to leave out someone like Broad.

"I don't regret leaving Stuart Broad out, and we are fortunate to leave someone like him out. I would be upset if he didn't show the passion he did in that interview, and he's nowhere near done. If he plays in the second Test I hope he walks off with some wickets," he said.

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However, the Durham man admitted that his team was not ruthless enough in the second innings when West Indies was 100-4.

"West Indies had a lot of time getting ready in Manchester. It was a hard fought Test. The skills and the level of cricket played was fantastic. You have to believe that 200 is enough, and if you don't, you're already losing. We should have got more runs in the first innings. We weren't ruthless enough to make our batting innings count, despite getting into good positions."

The first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton was the first international cricket match since the coronavirus outbreak in March and Stokes expressed his satisfaction at being back on the pitch.

"It's great that we've been able to play cricket. We are used to playing in front of a lot more people. It's been amazing to be involved in getting back into cricket, in terms of viewership," he said.

England's regular skipper Joe Root, who missed the first Test due to the birth of his child, will be back for the second Test in Manchester.

"I've loved captaining England, but this is Joe's team and I welcome him back," Stokes said.

 

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