Ben Stokes hits back at Steve Harmison for comments on England’s lack of preparation for India tour | Cricket

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London [UK], December 30 (ANI): England all-rounder and Test captain Ben Stokes hit back at compatriot and former pacer Steve Harmison for his criticism of the team’s preparation for their tour to India.

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The five-match Test series between India and England will kick off on January 25 next year with the first Test in Hyderabad. The fifth and final Test will be held in Dharamshala and the series will conclude on March 11.

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Harmison, who is also a former team-mate at Durham and a close friend of Stokes, said that arriving in India just three days before the start of the series would be disastrous as they would not be able to get used to the Indian conditions and the tourists deserves a 0-5 beating at the hands of Team India in such a situation.

Harmison had said to talkSPORT as quoted by Sky Sports, “If England go in three days before, they deserve to get beat 5-0, they really do.”

“I am an old man; that is what they will say. Times have changed, but preparation hasn’t changed. I love this new approach. I love Ben Stokes and [head coach] Brendon McCullum. But I am sorry, going three days before… You would never do that for an Ashes series.”

“You would never go to Australia three days before the Gabba, so why go three days before Hyderabad? For me, it stinks, it absolutely stinks,” concluded the former pacer.

To this, Stokes replied, as quoted by Sky Sports, “Good job we are going to Abu Dhabi for a training camp before we go to India for even more training before that first Test then, is not it?”

England lost their previous Indian tour by 3-1 in Tests on spinning surfaces back in 2021. They do not have any warm-up matches scheduled but do have a week-long workout in the UAE.

Stokes is also racing to be fully fit for the first game, having undergone surgery on his left knee at the end of November.

England is not expecting Stokes to bowl during the series but having him fully fit will definitely help England, as the all-rounder has done wonders for Three Lions with the bat on numerous occasions.

England Test squad: Ben Stokes (c), Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root and Mark Wood. (ANI)

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