Ben Stokes - poor sportsmanship | Sunday Observer

Ben Stokes - poor sportsmanship

There are key lessons to be learnt for the way England with their fighting qualities made what seemed a potential loss to turn tables to win.

Foremost lesson is leadership by example. Led admirably by stylish right hand batsman Joe Root, he proved that their traditional fighting qualities from the time they took to the game and when the chips are down can be turned into a victory.

They earlier showcased these qualifiers and underlined it when after surprisingly losing the First Test to the West Indies to win the next Two Tests and once again they fought back to guard their British Lions pride by coming from behind to beat the Pakistanis at Old Trafford, Manchester on Sunday.

The games against the West Indies did not go the full distance of five days and in finishing the First of Three Tests against Pakistan on the fourth day, strengthened the claims of those baying to play four day Test matches.

When the Pakistanis arrived in England they did so with a very much better and all round set of players better than the team from the Caribbean and were expected to give the home team a run for their LBS.

But those expectations were what only dreams are made up. The Pakistanis after showing the capabilities where they dominated the first innings scoring a formidable 326, shot out England for 219 to lead by 107 but collapsed in the second innings making 169 to leave the homesters 277 to win.

Although the victory chase looked a formidable one, with Pakistan having the better attack than England, the Pakistani bowlers after having England at 117 for 5 failed to stop them from fighting back in an exemplary fashion to finally cross the line and win by three wickets.

The chase was made possible by Jos Butler 75 and Chris Woakes 84 who were involved in a 139-run stand for the sixth wicket. When Woakes joined Butler, they based their approach and partnership in that attack is the best form of defence. And what an example they were as they made the threatening opponents’ bowling attack look innocuous as they motored on.

In the Pakistani first innings left handed opener Shan Masood made a classic 156 and when he was expected to give momentum to that innings in the second visit to the wicket he was out for blob which would have upset the rest of the batters.

With a healthy first innings lead what the Pakistani batsmen had to do was to put their heads down and concentrate on posting a winning chase that would have put it beyond the chasers.

But that was not to be as the England bowers, led once again by that great ‘trier’ Stuart Broad showing the way again ably supported by Anderson to keep their side in the possible victory frame.

While congratulating Butler and Woakes for their fighting qualities that took away a victory that looked a possibility for the visitors at one stage, we need to comment on the poor sportsmanship of the highly rated Ben Stokes..

Stokes who rocked the cricket world with his heroics in the Ashes series against Australia and whose consistency has made him the much talked about cricketer at the moment, let his admirers down by refusing to walk when he gloved a catch to wicket keeper Rizwan off leg spinner Yasir Shah in the second innings.

It required the Pakistanis who were confident that Stokes was out to refer the decision to the third umpire who after many looks of the incident ruled Stokes out. How nice and what an example of sportsmanship it would have been to all had Stokes walked off knowing full well that he had edged the ball.

Sport is all about being a sport playing the game clean always with a straight bat being an example so that youngsters watching would emulate. But that Stokes failed to do showed that he has no virtue of being a sport in him.

In this Test it was nice to see young Pakistani fast bowler Naseem Shah– probably the fastest in the game today – unleashing his venom on the English batsmen.

Although not grabbing many wickets he certainly would have instilled fear into the batsmen with his well directed bouncer which nearly took Woakes’ head with one nasty bouncer. With former great Waqar Younis as bowling coach to show him how, he should continue to go places.

The Pakistanis also put on show the two best leg spin/googly bowlers in the game in Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan. Both are talented and of rare class and it was interesting to watch them send down their cocktail of deliveries that had the England batters bemused.

That these two spinners failed to ring their team victory was just one of those things. But with two more Tests to be played with the second one in progress when this column is read, Shah and Khan could turn up trumps. With former leg spinning ace Saqlain Mushtaq working hard with them, he should make them match winners.

Pakistan must take the field in the second Test with that second to none feeling, forget their first Test defeat and fire all cylinders on England and level the series with one more to be played.

It was nice to see a female in the telly commentators box named Ebony Renford-Brent describing the action out in the middle very cleverly, with no bias as do most of the home commentators.

She was pretty and certainly looked like being made out of Ebony. Keep going girl you make interesting listening.

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