Ahead Of IND vs ENG 4th Test, Ben Stokes Shocked By Nature Of Ranchi Pitch, Says, 'I Have Not Seen Something Like This Before' Ben Stokes having a chat with Brendon McCullum. (Image: ANI)

England’s skipper Ben Stokes injected excitement into discussions about the Ranchi pitch ahead of the fourth Test against India, expressing his astonishment at the unique 22-yard strip. With India leading the five-match series 2-1, the upcoming Test is set to commence on Friday. The focus has been on the “platey cracks” on the pitch, as described by England batter Ollie Pope.

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Stokes contributed to the intrigue, stating, “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 no idea. I don’t know what could happen.” He further elaborated on the peculiarities of the pitch, remarking, “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.”

The unusual nature of the pitch has also affected England’s decision-making regarding their playing 11. While pacer Ollie Robinson is set to replace Mark Wood, the choice between adding a fourth spinner in Shoaib Bashir or an extra batter in Dan Lawrence remains undecided for now. Stokes praised Robinson’s skills, stating, “He’s got unbelievable skills to be a successful bowler anywhere in the world. What we’ve seen in England is he’s very skillful, but we’ve seen more than that in Pakistan. It’s similar but different here, but the skill he possesses, he can find any movement, and his release point is always going to be dangerous.”

Regarding his own participation in bowling, Stokes remained somewhat secretive, saying, “My knee itself was absolutely fine today bowling. It was just good to push past that 20-minute barrier, which is what I’ve been working around at the moment. It might be a bit stiff but we’ll wait and see.”

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