”It’s just one more, doesn’t make much difference’: Ben Stokes unfazed by his 100 Tests milestone

Ben Stokes will be reaching the milestone of becoming the 16th man to reach a century of Tests for England when he leads the side in the third Test against India in Rajkot

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Ben Stokes will be reaching the milestone of becoming the 16th man to reach a century of Tests for England when he leads the side in the third Test against India in Rajkot on Thursday, the English skipper, however, is unfazed by this milestone and said his 100th cap is “just another Test” and “doesn’t make much difference”.

The all-rounder, who made his Test debut in 2013 against Australia, will enter an elite club alongside veteran pacer James Anderson and Joe Root when he leads England in the third match of a five-game series, which is currently tied at 1-1.

“Every Test is just as important as the next one. Then there’s the next one, which will be 101 – it’s just one more. it’s a sign of longevity, but 99, 100 or 101 doesn’t make much difference,” Stokes was quoted by BBC.

Stokes announced his arrival in Test cricket by scoring a century in only his second match, against Australia. Since then, he has forged one of the most illustrious and triumphant careers in English cricketing history.

The all-32-year-old, who also starred in two World Cup final wins in white-ball cricket, assumed the role of Test captain in 2022. Since then, he has transformed the England team, guiding them to victory in 14 out of 20 matches under his leadership.

“There will be a time when I can reflect a bit more. Whilst I’m still playing and wanting to achieve a lot, then driving the team, giving individuals the best platform for them to be successful is where all my thoughts are at the moment.”

Stokes meanwhile said that England have finalise a 12-man squad for the third Test, with pace bowler Mark Wood in line to regain his place in the playing XI.

England named only one specialist seamer in each of the first two Tests, with Wood playing in the first match in Hyderabad before being replaced by James Anderson in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Wood could come in to partner James Anderson, with one of spin trio Shoaib Bashir, Rehan Ahmed or Tom Hartley making way.

Given Joe Root’s proficiency in offspin, Stokes will have a plethora of choices at his disposal, complemented by Wood’s additional pace. Though Wood went wicketless in the first Test but Stokes believes he could have more of an impact with Anderson alongside him.

“The reasons why we would look at Jimmy and Woody would be I just like to have a point of difference. And India is never a three-seamer option. Obviously having Woody’s high pace, and if we were to go with two seamers again, it would give a bit more rest to Woody as he was that sole seamer in the first Test. So, managing his workload.

“If we were to go with two seamers, we might be able to get a bit more versatility and use Woody how we want to use him out here and not worry he’s the only seamer,” said Stokes.

The five-match series is levelled at 1-1 with three matches remaining as England look to become the first team since 2012 to win a Test series in this country.

–IANS

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