Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes has revealed that he and his teammates endured sudden weight loss during the fourth and final Test against India here after a stomach illness hit the tourists before the match.
England lost the four-Test series 1-3 after going down in the final match by an innings and 25 runs last week.
“Players are totally committed to England and I think that was emphasised last week when a few of us went down with illness that made operating in 41 degree heat particularly taxing,” Stokes told Daily Mirror.
“I lost 5kg in a week, Dom Sibley 4kg and Jimmy Anderson 3kg among others. Jack Leach was ducking off the field in between bowling spells and spending more time than is ideal in the toilet,” Stokes said.
Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar scored 101 and 96 respectively to guide India to 365 in the first innings. India then returned to dismiss England for 135 to win the match.
“This is in no way an excuse, because everyone was ready to play, and India and Rishabh Pant especially produced a terrific performance, but I take off my hat to the effort that was put in by players who gave everything they had to try and win for England,” Stokes said.
The England team drew a lot of flak from former players following its performance in the Test series but Stokes said it is important to shut that out to focus on improving the game.
“Pundits have a job to do and that’s fine. But their responsibility isn’t to make us better players and a better team. That is our job and that is what we have to focus on,” said Stokes.
“The opinions that really matter are those of your captain, your coaches and your team-mates who are trying to make the team and you as a player as good as you can be.”
Stokes said a loss like this can dent the confidence of the youngsters in the team.
“For a lot of guys this was their first tour of India and it has been a steep learning curve, but that is part and parcel of being a cricketer at this level. The next test is how you react to those moments,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want any player, especially a young lad like Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley or Dom Sibley, leaving this tour and thinking they are not good enough to be here. They most definitely are.
“I have been through times like this in my career and your confidence can take a knock from a tour like this. You have to use the disappointment in the best way you can to motivate you to improve.”
England will next play India in a five-match T20 series beginning on March 12.