Ben Stokes: No sugarcoating the fact that we have had a disastrous ICC World Cup

Entering the World Cup as the defending 50-over and 20-over champion, England’s campaign fell apart, with the side suffering heavy defeats against fellow contenders India, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Published : Nov 03, 2023 16:35 IST , Ahmedabad - 3 MINS READ

| Video Credit: ICC

With England coming to terms with the grim reality after its ’disastrous’ World Cup campaign, Ben Stokes insisted his team still has much at stake in its remaining games, starting with the Australia clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

“We have had a disastrous World Cup, and there is no point sugarcoating that because it is the truth. But we know that in these last three games, we have a lot to play for. I think the biggest thing that we have got to play for is obviously the pride of what it is to put the Three Lions on your chest. So, yeah, I know there will be a lot of noise around England and Australia in the next game, but regardless of who we play against, the feeling of putting that shirt on is something that we take very seriously,” Stokes said on Friday.

Entering the World Cup as the defending 50-over and 20-over champion, England’s campaign fell apart, with the side suffering heavy defeats against fellow contenders New Zealand and South Africa.

READ: Ben Stokes to undergo knee surgery after England’s ODI World Cup 2023 campaign

The sucker punch landed against India last week when, after restricting an in-form batting unit to just 229 runs, Jos Buttler’s side fell 100 runs short in reply. Six games into the tournament, England is languishing at the bottom of the table. The previous loss was symptomatic of what has plagued the side throughout the tournament, Stokes felt.

“Everything we have tried throughout this World Cup, through trying to put pressure back on the opposition or trying to soak up the pressure, has just not worked.

“Every opportunity that we have had in front of us where we feel like we can take control of the game, the opposition’s managed to get it back towards them,” Stokes said.

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Stokes, who came out of retirement for the World Cup, has found the spotlight on him. After missing the first three games of the tournament due to an injury, Stokes has only wielded the bat.

“Over the last 18 months, it has been, ‘Will I? Won’t I?’ whereas, actually, this World Cup, I have not had to sort of worry about that and was able to just focus on going out there and trying to contribute to the team with runs. It is probably the first time since I had this knee issue when it has been quite clear that I am not going to bowl,” Stokes said.

While England might have relinquished its crown, mathematically, the side remains alive. A loss, however, against Australia will be the final nail in the coffin. Gearing up to face the archrival, Stokes said the permutations do not add pressure.

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“Yeah, playing for as long as I have played, you know what comes with it. There is always a bit more chatter when England plays Australia. It is a bit like when India and Pakistan come and play each other,” Stokes said.

The English all-rounder also clarified his use of an inhaler during England’s match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. “I have got exercise-induced asthma, so sometimes I get it when it is cold, but obviously, it does not happen here that often. But sometimes it happens when you go to a new city in India where the air is slightly different.”

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