England premier all-rounder and World Cup hero – Ben Stokes was baffled by India’s run-chasing strategy during their league encounter against England last year in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Stokes, who played a knock of 79 off just 54 balls, questioned India’s intent during the mammoth 338 run chase. In his new book ‘On Fire’, Stokes spoke about the batting tactics employed by Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni. Also Read - Virat Kohli vs Hardik Pandya? Natasa Stankovic Picks Hop Push-up Challenge Winner | SEE POST
The 28-year-old Stokes found Kohli and Rohit’s approach ‘mystifying’ and saw ‘no intent’ from former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the run chase. “Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. Also Read - Ben Stokes is a Bit Like Virat Kohli, he Will Turn Out to be an Excellent Captain: Nasser Hussain
“…there was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” Stokes wrote in his soon-to-be-published book. Also Read - Virat Kohli Can Break Sachin Tendulkar's Record of 100 Centuries, Says Brad Hogg
Stokes revealed that the England dressing room felt that Dhoni tried to take it deep so that the run-rate remained intact. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 42 off 31 balls but most of the runs came in the last over when the match as a contest was over.
“There is a theory in our camp that Dhoni’s way of playing has always been the same. Even if India can’t win the game, he takes it right to the end to try to make sure that India’s run-rate stays relatively healthy,” Stokes wrote.
“His big thing has always been to give himself a chance of winning by being at the crease for the final over, but he generally likes to stick around to get as close to a target as possible even in a losing cause.”
In the book ‘On Fire’ published by Headline Books and distributed by Hachette India, Stokes analysed each of England’s games in the World Cup.
In fact, the New Zealand-born cricketer also called skipper Virat Kohli’s complaints about the ’59-metre’ boundary on one side “whingeing”.
In fact, England’s new-ball bowlers Chris Wokes and Jofra Archer kept a tight leash on Rohit and Kohli as they consumed nearly 27 overs for their 138-run stand.
“The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre.
“They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands.”
Stokes also wrote that Kohli’s explanation about short boundaries sounded a “bit weird” to him. “Yet it was weird to hear India captain Kohli whingeing about the size of the boundaries at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I have never heard such a bizarre complaint after a match. It’s actually the worst complaint you could ever make.
In the game in Birmingham, India were comprehensively beaten by 31 runs failing to chase England’s massive score of 337 for 7.