Ben Stokes says 'nothing untoward' in exchange with Virat Kohli, with words showing passion for game
Ben Stokes says exchange with Virat Kohli was "just two blokes who love what they do and don't back down"; all-rounder says England should have scored 300 on day one of fourth Test in Ahmedabad after being bowled out for 205 having won the toss
Last Updated: 04/03/21 6:13pm
Ben Stokes says there was "completely nothing untoward" in his exchange with Virat Kohli on day one of the fourth Test and that the pair's words only highlight their passion for the game.
Stokes and India captain Virat Kohli had a seemingly heated conversation while the England batsman was making 55 in his side's total of 205 all out in Ahmedabad, with the two separated by the umpire.
However, Stokes, who also exchanged words with India seamer Mohammed Siraj, played down the incident, telling reporters: "It's two professionals showing that they care about the sport that they love.
"A lot is said these days when two guys seem to come to words out in the middle. There was completely nothing untoward, just two blokes who love what they do and don't back down.
- Report: England skittled for 205 as batting woes continue
- Fourth Test scorecard: India vs England
- Day One in Ahmedabad - as it happened
"Nowadays it seems a massive talking point when you see two opponents having a word with each other. People seem to, not lose their heads but just think it is all wrong.
"Look at it from a different way - two guys who care about what they are doing and who they are representing.
"We are competitors. We are not going to back down to anyone, whoever it is. That's what it was. Two competitive guys trying to get one over on each other."
Stokes top-scored for England as they were dismissed in 75.5 overs after winning the toss - and the all-rounder says his team's total was well under-par.
England had failed to pass 200 in their previous five innings in the series and were rolled for 112 and 81 while losing the pink-ball Test inside two days, with Stokes feeling those disappointments have been hard to shake off for his side.
I was very frustrated that I spent two and a half hours trying to avoid getting out to a straight ball and then ended up getting out to a straight ball. Fifty is never going to win you a Test match so I was disappointed to get in on that wicket, start feeling comfortable and then get out the way I did.
Ben Stokes on his innings (Pic credit - BCCI)
The 29-year-old - who is battling an upset stomach - added: "We are more than capable of scoring at least 300 on a wicket like that so it is frustrating. We wanted to play in a certain way as a batting group and our execution let us down.
"Early on it became apparent we weren't going to get anything like we did on day one of the last Test. As the day went on the ball started to spin a bit more but I know overall that it is a much better wicket than the last game.
"We say we try and put [disappointing batting performances] behind us but it is easier said than done.
"I have played 70-odd games now and told our younger batters these are the hardest conditions I have faced as a batsman and I have played all around the world.
"I think it's a case of finding your own way. It's not about saying 'this is what we need to do better as a group'. It's about making sure when we come back next time we have progressed as individuals.
If Zak sticks that into row Z everyone says ‘what a shot’. As batsman you have to take risks to score runs. That’s how Zak went about it and we can’t hold it against him. He has the backing of our whole dressing room. Are we going to pull him into a room and say don’t run down the wicket again because he has hit one up in the air early on ? No.
Ben Stokes on Zak Crawley's dismissal
"My game-plan is going to be completely different to Joe Root's game-plan or Dom Sibley's game-plan but if the outcome of those game-plans is that we score runs then happy days."
England went into the game with an extra specialists batsman, in Dan Lawrence, and second frontline spinner, in Dom Bess, as they look for a win that would earn them a 2-2 series draw.
Stokes and Anderson are England's sole seam bowlers, with Stuart Broad left out and an ongoing issue with his right elbow seeing Jofra Archer miss out.
On England's team selection, Stokes added: "If you look at the scorecard for the last Test that probably gives all the answers that you need!
"We felt that seam is not going to offer as much in terms of being a threat. It will be more of a holding role. We played the extra spinner because of the conditions last time.
"Lengthening the batting line-up is what we have taken away from the last Test. I think having the extra batter is going to be a bonus in our second innings when the pitch is a lot more used."
That extra batter, Lawrence, made 46 from the No 7 spot and earned Stokes' praise.
Stokes said: "The keenness to want to play in such an alien position is such a good trait to have.
"It was refreshing to see him go out and stick to the way which has got him into the team, especially after being disappointed with the runs he has got so far. We have seen a small glimpse of the talent he has."
Follow text commentary from day two of the fourth Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 3.50am on Friday