"Ben Stokes made a big error..." - Geoffrey Boycott

Updated - 28 Feb 2024, 03:29 PM

Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum and Geoffrey Boycott
Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum and Geoffrey Boycott (Image Credits: Twitter)

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott criticized Ben Stokes’ captaincy during the fourth Test match against India in Ranchi. Geoffrey Boycott stated that Ben Stokes made a ‘big error’ by giving the new ball to inexperienced spinners in the final innings of the match.

The England team suffered a five-wicket loss in the recent match in Rachi. The visiting team conceded a 3-1 lead to the Rohit Sharma-led side in the ongoing five-match series. This loss marked the first Test series defeat for the Three Lions in the Bazball era.

Ben Stokes Out-Thought Himself – Geoffrey Boycott

In his column for The Telegraph, Geoffrey Boycott wrote that Joe Root and Tom Hartley lacked the experience needed to bowl with the new ball effectively. He explained that the lacquer on the new ball made it difficult for spinners to grip and control.

“I like Stokes’s captaincy but I thought he made a big error by opening the bowling with two spinners, Root and Tom Hartley. Stokes was thinking that a harder new ball would bounce more and a raised seam would create more spin,” Boycott wrote.

“The problem is that unless you are experienced at bowling spin with a new ball then the lacquer makes it slip out of the fingers so it is difficult to drop it on a length. When I played, spinners could rub the ball in the dirt to rough it up and grip it better but that is banned now so it is hard for them to control. I think Stokes out-thought himself,” he added.

With only 192 to defend, Ben Stokes opted for spinners Tom Hartley and Joe Root due to spin-friendly conditions. However, they couldn’t secure early breakthroughs with the new ball. Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal amassed 40 runs from 8 overs on the third day.

The Indian opening batters added 84 runs in the final innings. However, England bounced back with five quick wickets, restricting the home team to 120-5. Shubman Gill (55) and Dhruv Jurel (39) guided the home team to victory without losing any further wickets.

Game And Series Were Lost By The Batsmen – Geoffrey Boycott

Geoffrey Boycott emphasized the challenges of chasing small totals in the final innings of a Test match, citing the worn pitch. Boycott attributed the loss in the game and series to the batters’ performance.

“Chasing small totals in the last innings of a Test match has historically proved difficult for many teams because the pitch is usually worn and playing tricks. Early wickets are a priceless bonus but it is also imperative the bowlers tie the batsmen down to build pressure on the batting team. The game and series were lost by the batsmen,” Boycott would further write.

The England middle-order batters failed to make an impact in the series. Experienced batters Joe Root (210), Ben Stokes (197), and Jonny Bairstow (170) struggled against the Indian bowling attack. Notably, the English openers provided good starts for most of the series.

The fifth and final match between England and India is scheduled to be played in Dharamsala starting on March 7. Despite losing the series, the upcoming match is crucial for England considering the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-25.

Also read: Ben Stokes hit out at reporter during the press conference after a salty 5-wicket loss in the 4th Test vs India


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