Stokes wants England players to "think that we're in the entertainment business"

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23 Jun 2022 | 02:31 AM
authorcricket.com staff

Stokes wants England players to "think that we're in the entertainment business"

The England Test skipper also backed Zak Crawley to come good in the third Test against New Zealand

It's only been two Tests but England have already given a glimpse of how they want to approach Test cricket under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum. They have been aggressive against New Zealand and already have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. And, England captain Stokes wants his players to "think that we're in the entertainment business" when they step out at Headingley for the final Test on Thursday (June 23).

In the first Test, Joe Root scored a stunning century to help England chase down 276. And, we all know what Jonny Bairstow did in the second encounter. The middle-order batter smoked 136 off 92 deliveries and helped England hunt down a target of 299 in just 50 overs. Stokes too smashed a 70-ball 75 and the hosts hunted down the target with 22 overs to spare.

"We want to walk away from the series winning three-nil because it does sound better to 2-1. But, as I said upstairs to the lads before we started training today, the result will look after itself this week. Let's carry on what we've been doing the last two weeks and try and think that we're in the entertainment business not the sporting business this week," said Stokes.

"What you saw last week on that day five is exactly what it was. For us, it was a matter of just chasing the runs down, not how many overs there were. At not one stage did we look at that. I think it was pretty clear by the fact we knocked them off in 16 overs in the last session. Me and Johnny just decided that was a time to put as much pressure back on them as we possibly could. And that's what we're doing this week.

"There will come a time, at some point this week, we will have to do it with the ball or the bat. So yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if you saw something similar to what Jonny did last week, because I'm sure if any of our guys get in they'll be looking to do something. Maybe not as good as what Jonny did last week, but something similar."

England have made just one, enforced, change to their XI, with Jamie Overton set for a Test debut. Overton replaces fellow paceman James Anderson after England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker was ruled out with an ankle injury. Jamie Overton's selection for the match means his twin brother, Craig, misses out.

"I would always love to have a point of difference with my bowling attack. Obviously Jimmy and Jamie are completely different bowlers. But it's a great opportunity for us to look at an England side with someone who can bowl fast in it, because we don't have Stoney, Woody or Jofra to do that for us at that moment.

"We all know how big a role pace can play in a team, especially when the wicket is flat and you're looking to break a partnership. It's always great to have someone who can bowl fast in your back pocket."

All England players have contributed in this series except for one man, Zak Crawley. The right-handed opener has only managed 56 runs in four innings and is the only England batter to not score a fifty in this series.

"I certainly hope he's feeling this could be his week. But Zak's a team man. You know it's always disappointing when you're struggling to get runs yourself, but there's a reason why Zak is in this team. Because everyone knows what a player he is and what a big future he has in an England shirt," said Stokes. 

"But Zak, not doing well last week and seeing Popey and Jonny do well, would not faze him. Winning is the most important thing for him. The quality player that Zak is, we know that a big score is only just around the corner. And when he does it, it will definitely be entertaining."

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England vs New ZealandNew Zealand tour of England, 2022EnglandBen Stokes

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