Ben Stokes clueless about Ranchi pitch: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this' | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Ben Stokes clueless about Ranchi pitch for India vs England 4th Test: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this'

Feb 22, 2024 11:08 AM IST

Ben Stokes described the Ranchi pitch for the India vs England fourth Test as something he has never seen. So he doesn't know how it will play.

The Ranchi pitch has got the England camp thinking. Captain Ben Stokes and vice-captain Ollie Pope both shared similar views about the 22 yards for the India vs England fourth Test. It is set to turn but how quickly and how much are the big questions in the visitors' minds. The pitches in this series have been anything but rank turners. Hyderabad offered the most to the spinners but it was by no means unplayable.

England's captain Ben Stokes(PTI)
England's captain Ben Stokes(PTI)

India were quick to realise that pitches offering excessive turn will only bring the inexperienced England spinners into play. After a defeat in the first Test, the pitches in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot were much better for batting and it started to break as the match progressed, bringing India's spinners into the game. The results followed.

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India won the second Test by 106 runs and then registered their biggest-ever Test win (in terms of runs) when they pummeled England by 434 runs in the third Test in Rajkot to take a 2-1 lead.

To be fair to England. They have done their best to steer away from the discussion around pitches during this series. But with Jasprit Bumrah not around for the all-important fourth fixture, it was almost a given that the hosts would change their stance. And if Stokes' observation is to be believed, they already have.

Stokes described the Ranchi pitch for the fourth Test as something he has never seen. So he doesn't know how it will play. The pitch looked greenish from a distance but when you go close, it has cracks in it, he said. "It looked interesting, didn't it? I don't know. I can't say much. I don't know, I've never seen something like that before so I have got no idea," Stokes said, when asked how it might play. "I don't know what could happen.

The England captain is also likely to bowl for the first time in the series.

"If you looked down one side of opposite ends it just looked different to what I am used to seeing, especially out in India. It looked green and grassy up in the changing-rooms, but then you go out there, it looked different. Very dark and crumbly and quite a few cracks in it."

'There are a lot of cracks': Ollie Pope on Ranchi pitch

Pope too pointed out the dual look of the pitch. "At the minute, it looks like batting from the far end, it's outside the right-hander's off stump and then from this end, the left-hander's off-stump. It just looks like it's down the wicket, it's kind of plated on one side and then the other side looks like a pretty good wicket."

Unlike Stokes, Pope, however, was convinced that it was not going to be easy for the batters. "There's a lot of cracks. It's very platey, and they've just wetted it as well, which generally dries it up. It doesn't necessarily look like a belting wicket at the moment. It kind of looks like one half is good, and then there are a lot of platey cracks. That's how we see it at the minute. I think we will see what happens tomorrow after the Indian team has looked at the wicket, then make a decision from there."

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