Adelaide, Nov 8 (PTI): England all-rounder Ben Stokes is hopeful that his bowling attack can contain the rampaging Suryakumar Yadav in the T20 World Cup semi-final against India even though his shots have forced him to scratch his head in awe.
He was also lavish in his praise for Indian legend Virat Kohli, who he thinks has “earned the right to be never written off”.
England’s top all-rounder is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances in the big semi-final on Thursday.
“Suryakumar obviously came in and set the world alight. He is a fantastic player and plays some shots where you sort of just scratching the head sometimes.
“He is in great form, but hopefully, we can try and shut him down and not allow him to get on one of his rampages,” Stokes, who has been impressive with the ball, told reporters in an interaction organised by the England & Wales Cricket Board.
Talking about Kohli, with whom Stokes has shared a healthy rivalry over the years, the Durham man was at his wits end that a player of that stature could be written off so easily after a downward spiral.
“I think with Virat he could have four unbelievable years like he had, and then have a not so loud couple of months and then for some reason plays like that and gets written off, we have got no idea why. I think he has earned the right to never be written off.”
As far as Kohli is concerned, his numbers speak for itself, said Stokes.
“You don’t produce the numbers and produce the innings that he (Kohli) does in all three formats and it’s fine. We as players and people who play against him a lot, we never take anything he has done in the game before into the game we have got here,” said Stokes.
Stokes admitted that England have reached the semi-finals without “playing their best cricket” so far but on a big day, against a good Indian team, that wouldn’t be the case.
“I think the way we have managed to get through not playing our best cricket so far and now we find ourselves here. So obviously it’s exciting.
“But we know we need to get this game done on Thursday, against a very strong Indian team which no one will ever take lightly,” Stokes put things as they are.
“This is because of the team they are and the players that they have in their squad. But we like to focus more on our squad and not think too much about them.”
In fact, he also didn’t want to read too much into opposition skipper Rohit Sharma’s lean run with the bat.
“The likes of Rohit, they are world-class players. You can’t take (assume) anything from what he has performed in the previous game because you have seen him do it many a time (in big games).
“He is one of the best to play the game, especially in this format. We won’t be taking him lightly at all.”
When asked if spin will play a big role in Adelaide under floodlights, Stokes was non-committal.
“I am pretty sure it will but how big a role, I don’t know.”
Stokes, the England Test captain, feels that Jos Buttler is doing a fabulous job as the country’s white-ball skipper.
“He (Buttler) has gone really well. Even when he wasn’t in charge of the team he was the leader within the group. And now he is in charge you can see. I think everyone who is in the team obviously follows him.”