India vs England: Ben Stokes Can Put Bowlers on Back Foot, He Shouldn’t Forget That – Graham Thorpe
England assistant coach Graham Thorpe on Monday said Ben Stokes should not forget that he has the ability to put bowlers on the back-foot as he tried to play down the star all-rounder’s apparent struggles against seasoned Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Stokes was dismissed thrice by Ashwin in the first two Tests in Chennai. The power-hitter was, in fact, stifled quite remarkably by the local favourite in the second game. When asked about Ashwin’s command on Stokes, Thorpe said, “It is a challenge. Ben actually has at times different styles of playing. He can build into an innings as well. “I think Ben also has that ability to put a bowler on the back foot as well, that is something which he certainly should not forget.”
The four Test series is currently tied at 1-1.
Thorpe praised Ashwin, saying he can be dangerous to both left and right handers on a turning track.
“I mean not just for the left-handers, if the pitch spins, he (Ashwin) is obviously dangerous, for left and right handers, he is a fine bowler in those conditions as well,” Thorpe said.
The assistant coach also conceded that the visitors will have a tough series ahead.
“I mean in terms of working with the players, it is important to get a good clear mind and kind of push that game away and try and reflect on what we could have done better.
“(It) comes back to similar things, trying to really trust your footwork and also trusting your defense and staying calm. But we know we have got again another tough week ahead of us,” he said.
Thorpe also hinted that all players including Zak Crawley, who was ruled out of the first Two tests due to an injury, are available for selection.
“He (Crawley) is looking fit and I think we have probably got a full complement of players to pick from, so he (Crawley) will be certainly in the mix, and his injury seems to have healed for me, watching him in the nets,” said Thorpe.
Johnny Bairstow, who did well in Sri Lanka, is also certainly in contention.
“Johnny did well in Sri Lanka, he will come back into the mix. All the players are fit, so we have got a choice to make going into this match.
“We know what Johnny’s credentials are, he is a good player of spin, he (has) got a decent record, he played well in Sri Lanka, so he is certainly going to be in with a shout,” added the 51-year-old.
The assistant coach also said that the seamers could have more impact in the day-night Test despite the track being expected to favour slower bowlers.
“It is possible, it’s possible, I mean without looking into it, the crystal ball, but I would imagine that the ball generally does swing more under the lights,” he reckoned.
“They (India) don’t have a huge database of pink ball cricket in India, maybe the second one, so looking forward to it, it is a fantastic stadium. We have prepared as well as we can,” he added.