Ben Stokes says there is no doubting the England players’ desire to play for the national side.
The hosts have come under fire in the wake of the 340-run hammering by the Proteas. It was the manner in which the batsmen lost their wickets as much as the margin of defeat that was scrutinised, with Michael Vaughan going so far as saying that England showed a lack of respect for Test cricket.
Captain Joe Root hit back at the former skipper’s claim, labelling his comments as ‘unfair’ and saying that the side takes pride in winning matches against the likes of South Africa.
All-rounder Stokes has echoed Root’s sentiments, commenting that the honour of representing their country was not lost on any members of the squad.
‘The whole fight and desire [question] and everything like that that’s been thrown at us, I think is very, very unfair,’ Stokes told ESPNcricinfo.
‘It’s almost like people are saying that we don’t have the desire or the fight to play for England, but everyone who takes part in the game – not just the eleven, but everyone in the squad, coaches – the desire, the commitment, the fight to represent your country and do well is always there.
‘So I think that kind of criticism is harsh, yes.’
The hosts were faced with the daunting task of having to bat out two entire days to save the Trent Bridge Test. What followed was a capitulation, which saw England skittled for a modest 133 in 96.1 overs.
Stokes believes a better assessment of the match situation and the conditions is needed if they are to arrest a desperate slide, having lost six of their last eight outings in the longest format.
‘The big thing is just for us to be able to adapt quicker. We didn’t adapt whatsoever in that second innings at Trent Bridge to what we needed to do, which was just to bat. But unfortunately, it didn’t happen,’ Stokes continued.
‘The only way we can give ourselves the best chance is just assessing the situations better.’
England will be seeking redemption when they face the Proteas in the third Test at The Oval beginning on Thursday.
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