Ben Stokes fires back at Steve Harmison over his controversial criticism for England ahead of India Test tour

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  • Former England pacer Steve Harmison had warned Ben Stokes-led side ahead of the India Test tour with honest criticism.

  • Stokes recently responded to Harmison's criticism on social media.

Ben Stokes fires back at Steve Harmison over his controversial criticism for England ahead of India Test tour
Ben Stokes and Steve Harmison (Image Source: Twitter)

The cricketing world is abuzz with anticipation as England gears up for a gruelling five-match Test series against India, scheduled to kick off on January 25. With a star-studded squad led by Ben Stokes and coached by Brendon McCullum, expectations are running high for the English team.

However, former England pacer Steve Harmison recently added fuel to the pre-tour discussions with his candid critique of the team’s preparation. The discussions were even further intensified when Stokes came forward to counter Harmison with a sharp response.

Steve Harmison’s candid critique

In a recent conversation with TalkSport, Harmison expressed his concerns about England’s limited preparation time, landing in India just three days before the commencement of the first Test in Hyderabad. The seasoned pacer emphasized the timeless importance of adequate preparation in the challenging subcontinental conditions.

“If England go in 3 days before, they deserve to get beat 5-0. They really do. I’m an old man, that is what they are going to say, the times have changed, the game has changed, but I tell you, preparation has not changed. You can’t go into India underprepared. In fact, you cannot go India overprepared as well, you can be in India for six weeks before and still not be prepared for that first Test,” said Harmison.

Harmison’s remarks ignited a spirited discussion within the cricketing community, with fans and experts alike weighing in on England’s approach to this critical series.

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Stokes sets the record straight with pointed response

Responding to Harmison’s criticism, Stokes took to Twitter to provide clarity on England’s preparation strategy. Stokes highlighted a two-phase approach, with the squad first heading to Abu Dhabi for an intensive training camp before spending additional days in India ahead of the first Test.

Although the England skipper’s message was injected with a touch of sarcasm, it clearly emphasized the team’s commitment to thorough preparation and countered Harmison’s assertion about insufficient mere three days of preparation criticism.

“Good job we’re going to Abu Dhabi for a training camp before we go to India for even more training before that 1st test then isn’t it,” wrote Stokes.

Discussions and anticipation surrounding Bazball approach

Notably, Egland’s last Test series was against Australia in the Ashes 2023, which concluded in a draw. The series saw questions raised about England’s attacking style in the longest format of the game. As the team faces a formidable Indian side on their home turf, cricket enthusiasts are eager to see if this style proves effective in the subcontinent.

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About the Author:
Vishwanath Hariharan is Content Strategist at CricketTimes.com. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. From breaking news stories to in-depth features and opinion pieces, he has covered a wide range of topics. Vishwanath is very fond of watching cricket. Like many others, he too grew up watching, playing, and imitating his favourite players of the game. MS Dhoni is like a demigod to him. You can connect with him at vishwanath.hariharan@crickettimes.com and follow him on Twitter & Linkedin.