Kevin Pietersen has criticised England Captain Ben Stokes for his reckless batting during Day 3 of the fifth Test between India and England. The legendary batter said that the allrounder is trying to justify his statement of England playing a new brand of cricket by using his feet unnecessarily against the bowlers.
“I was just watching Ben Stokes there for 10 minutes, and that little passage of play where he ran down the wicket and slogged one straight up in the air,” he said. “He ran down the wicket again and he slogged it straight to mid-off, dropped catch. This is reckless batting. This is not defending your wicket,” said Pietersen, quoted by Wisden.
Stokes walked in to bat when England were in a precarious situation at 83-5. The batter tried to charge down the track and take on the Indian bowling by scoring quick runs against them. He even got a life when he was dropped by Shardul Thakur but that didn’t stop Stokes’ aggressive approach as he kept hitting the ball in the air. He got another life when he was dropped by Indian captain Jasprit Bumrah before finally getting out the very next ball as Bumrah finally managed to hold on to a catch.
Pietersen felt that the England captain was adamant to prove a point by being over-aggressive.
“I would tell Ben Stokes that he doesn’t need to try and prove a point by being ultra-aggressive,” he said. “Ben Stokes has an aura that when he walks out to the wicket, the bowler knows he needs to be bowling his best deliveries in order to get him out, and sometimes their best deliveries, they know are going to get hit for four, and sometimes get hit for six. What I see at the moment with Ben Stokes is somebody who’s the captain, the leader, and he is trying to command some sort of authority by running at bowlers,” the 42-year-old cricketer turned commentator added.
England were bowled out for 284 in their first innings courtesy of a magnificent century by Jonny Bairstow. India finished Day 4 at the score of 125 for 3 leading England by 257 runs.