Updated March 11th, 2024 at 17:07 IST

Australia great lashes out at 'conservative' Ben Stokes after humiliating loss against India

Following the resounding loss against India in the 5-match Test series, a former Australia player has severely criticised the leadership of Ben Stokes.

England's captain Ben Stokes addresses a press conference on the eve of the third cricket test match against India in Rajkot, India | Image: AP
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Legendary Australian cricketer Ian Chappell has slammed England skipper Ben Stokes' aggressive leadership tactics during the just-concluded five-Test series against India. According to Chappell, some of his decisions were responsible for the visitors' 1-4 series humiliation. England's sole win came in the 1st Test, which was played in Hyderabad.

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Ian Chappell dissects how Ben Stokes could have taken a different approach

According to Chappell, Stokes missed a major trick which cost him big time. He said that while the need of the hour on the third evening of the fourth Test in Ranchi was to give the ball to pace stalwart Jimmy Anderson to make early breakthroughs, Stokes decided to bowl part-time spinner Joe Root, thus missing a trick.

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"On the third evening, Stokes desperately needed to start India's chase with his best two bowlers and try to claim at least one wicket. Incredibly, he gave the ball to a part-timer, Joe Root, and ignored the experienced, probing bowling of Jimmy Anderson. India took full advantage and scored an invaluable 40 runs off just eight overs," said Chappell in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

India did not lose a wicket in the post-tea session on day three, scoring 40 invaluable runs to put the pressure back on England. India won the Test by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.

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"Stokes missed a trick in Ranchi. He then compounded his error by allowing too many easy singles on the final day (day four) by resorting to some cautious field placings. At a time when Stokes needed to be extremely brave as captain and hope he got lucky, he was abnormally conservative." "India probably would still have won but at least by going on the attack, Stokes would have given England their best chance of an upset victory." He said that Stokes could probably take a lesson or two from former Pakistan skipper Javed Miandad, who was a "leadership master" in trying situations.

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India took the advantage

Chappell added that India skipper Rohit Sharma took full advantage of the tentative field placings on day four of the Ranchi Test with a thoughtful innings, and India's solid opening partnership helped seal victory.

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"By allowing easy singles, Stokes gave his opponents the upper hand. He also needed to use the experience and guile of Anderson to try and force the issue on the third evening but instead relied on the part-time spin of Root." Chappell said that Kuldeep Yadav ripped open England batters' vulnerabilities to quality wrist spin, adding that R Ashwin did the job by decimating the lower order.

"In the final Test (in Dharamsala), England again capitulated to spin -- this time it was the wrist version, from the talented Kuldeep Yadav, who broke open England's vulnerable batting order while R Ashwin plundered the bottom half as offspin was again dominant.

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"India have been getting stronger in this series, while England are regularly being overwhelmed by spin. They're fortunate it's the final Test. Despite all the feel-good stories and bold predictions, India and Australia are still flexing their muscles as dominant teams," Chappell added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published March 11th, 2024 at 17:07 IST