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Ben Stokes says 'write me and England off at your peril' after defeat in India

England crumble to innings defeat to India, lose series 4-1; captain Ben Stokes says: "This shouldn't affect anything we've managed to achieve before. It's the first time that this team has been dominated. We will use this as inspiration. Write this team off, write me off at your peril"

England's captain Ben Stokes (Getty Images)
Image: Ben Stokes called on England to be 'more relentless' after their tour of India ended in a crushing defeat

Ben Stokes conceded England were outplayed as they lost 4-1 in India but said "write me and the team off at your peril" following the innings drubbing in Dharamsala.

Stokes' side's sole victory came in the series opener at Hyderabad, with the tourists since losing four matches on the spin against India and seven of their last 12 Tests against all opponents since beginning the Bazball era with 10 victories from 11.

The skipper told reporters: "Not just myself but the team are big enough to say we've been completely outplayed in the last four games.

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Nasser Hussain believes there is too much said and written about Bazball, instead of looking at individual performances in the England team

"Failure is a great teacher to sports teams. You either let failure and disappointment eat you up and shoot you down or you learn from failure and you make sure you don't lose the enthusiasm of what you do.

"This series shouldn't affect anything we've managed to achieve before this tour. It's the first time, particularly these last four games, that this team has been dominated pretty much the whole time.

"We will use this as inspiration to become a better team and to become better players. I am obviously disappointed with my performance, but write this team off, write me off at your own peril.

"If we we weren't disappointed, if we weren't frustrated at how the series has ended up, I don't really know what other emotions you could have.

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"Use it as fuel. I always feel like I can't work any harder, but I'll come away from this tour and go home and work even harder than what I have done out here for the summer coming up."

England's captain Ben Stokes, right, reacts after being bowled out by India's Ravichandran Ashwin fields on the third day of the fifth and final test match between England and India in Dharamshala, India, Saturday, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo /Ashwini Bhatia)
Image: Stokes' men lost four Tests in a row against India after winning the series opener

'Bazball will hopefully inspire players to become better'

Stokes, whose side only passed 400 once in the series, added: "The media name 'Bazball' - everyone says, 'what is it?' - in my opinion it's wanting to be a better player.

"In the face of defeat and failure, 'Bazball' will hopefully inspire people to become better players and become even better than what we are. I think we've done a lot of things right.

"One thing India have done is stay true to what makes them successful. We have done that but not been able to execute how we'd like to.

"Whenever we managed to wrestle back any type of momentum with the ball or bat, India were always able to then put it back on to us. That was where the Tests after the first one were won and lost.

England's Ben Foakes is bowled out by India's Ravichandran Ashwin on the third day of the fifth and final test match between England and India in Dharamshala, India, Saturday, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo /Ashwini Bhatia)
Image: England found it tough going against India's spinner in Dharamsala

"In Test cricket, especially out here where the game can turn really fast on you, it's about understanding that and trying to understand those moments and being a bit more relentless with it.

"How that looks, I'm not sure, but we're all here at the highest level, playing cricket, and I think we all know as individuals that's where it has gone wrong for us on more than one occasion."

'You have to be positive - even if that comes with risk'

Zak Crawley's 79 in the first innings and Joe Root's 84 in the second made them the only England batters to pass fifty in the fifth Test.

Stokes, who averaged under 20 with the bat and made just 199 runs across all five Tests, acknowledged the risk-reward dichotomy of taking on the hosts' attack in unfamiliar conditions but insisted there was method behind the approach.

England's Jonny Bairstow (Associated Press)
Image: England's Jonny Bairstow made double figures eight times out of 10 against India but failed to reach 40

"When India get on top, especially with the ball, you see a lot of men come around the bat and when you've got the quality bowlers they've got to find ways of getting guys around the bat out of there," Stokes said.

"Sometimes that comes with risk and risk doesn't always pay off, but you get a couple of sweeps away and you find you've only got one man around the bat.

"You've just got to be positive enough to be able to take that risk and know sometimes it can be your downfall, but it's one of those things where you can look at it and say 'could I have done something better?'

"When the intent and the application is there with the reasons to why you're playing that shot, you can't hold your hands up and say too much else."

Stokes: I don't know when Anderson is going to stop

One of the few moments of cheer for England in the fifth Test came on the morning day three when James Anderson joined the elite by becoming the first fast bowler and only the third bowler in Test history to take 700 wickets when he had Kuldeep caught behind.

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It took him to a milestone only spin duo Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and the late Shane Warne (708) had previously reached and is unlikely to be matched by another pace specialist.

Stokes was full of praise for Anderson, who made his Test debut in 2003, and does not expect the 41-year-old to be calling time on his career any time soon.

"I've been lucky to be on the field for some of the milestones Jimmy has got to but being there for 700 wickets as a seamer was quite phenomenal," Stokes said.

"I've said many a time, he's someone any young kid who wants to be a fast bowler should look up to and try to emulate everything he has done from the day he started being a cricketer, let alone being an international cricketer, to where he is now.

"He's 41 years old, he's as fit as I ever seen him, I honestly don't know when he is going to stop. The desire, the commitment and everything is still there, and it's great to watch.

"He doesn't play the game for the milestones, he plays for his team-mates and England. He's just an unbelievable ambassador for the game and in particular fast bowling."

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