“Real Impact Builder”: Ben Stokes Warns India Of England’s ‘Weapon’ Ahead Of 1st Test

England captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday rated Mark Wood as an “impact builder” with high pace after they decided to enter the first Test against India, starting in Hyderabad from Thursday, with a solitary fast bowler and three spinners. Wood was preferred over veteran James Anderson for this match, and Stokes said the Durham man’s ability to touch 150 clicks tilted the scales in his favour.

“Obviously, what he brings with his high pace…he is a real impact builder. Bowling the 90 mile an hour with a reversing ball is obviously going to be very difficult to play against.

“He’s another weapon which you can use out here with short, sharp spells, wanting him to be bowling as fast as he can and short periods. There’re no worries about these long spells because that’s how we’re going to use him this week,” said Stokes during his pre-match press meet here.

So, how did the team management handle the situation of looking over a highly-experienced bowler like Anderson? Stokes said Anderson has taken the whole episode quite professionally.

“Jimmy’s incredible professional. You never know how conditions might change and what you might feel as the best setup for your team.

But now we’re not looking at having to manage Jimmy or his workloads or anything like that. You know, we put him in the spot because we think he’s one of the best performers,” said Stokes.

However, Stokes asserted that he will not bowl in the series. The premier all-rounder is still recuperating from a knee surgery.

The focus, then, will be on England’s three-spinner strategy as they will field Jack Leach, Rehan Ahmed and debutant Tom Hartley with Joe Root adding another part-time spin option.

Stokes gave a broad guideline about how did England arrive at this decision.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s bold or brave. It’s just me and Baz (McCullum) looking at the wicket and picking the XI that we think will give us the best chance.

You have always got to think that the ball is going to turn in India, but you don’t want to go in with any preconceived ideas. We have to adapt.

India is one of those places where you’ve got to think about selection a lot more than anywhere else in the world, because of what you can get from the wicket,” said Stokes.

However, this is not the first time a visiting team fielded three spinners as Australia had picked Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and Matthew Kuhnemann for the last three Tests of the four-match series against India in early 2023.

The 32-year-old Durham cricketer has a penchant for funky, result-oriented captaincy.

But can he drive on the same path in conditions that are so un-English and on pitches that are certain to offer barrowful of assistance to spinners?’ Stokes saw the challenge of playing in India as a chance for his side to achieve something special.

“I think any team that comes to India, it’s always a tough challenge. We respect that as a team as well. But that presents us with an opportunity. This team loves opportunities. We sort of take every opportunity head on and we run towards it.

We don’t back away from anything. But yeah, India is an incredibly hard place to come and win a game cricket. But I am really, really looking forward to the challenge,” Stokes concluded.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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