Stokes eager to move on from Rabada feud

England all-rounder says he has no grudge against South Africa pacer

Afp July 26, 2017

LONDON: England's Ben Stokes has no qualms about playing against South Africa's Kagiso Rabada when the fiery duo meet again in the third Test at The Oval starting Thursday.

Fast-bowler Rabada was banned from the Proteas' 340-run series-levelling win at Trent Bridge last week for swearing at Stokes after dismissing the all-rounder in the campaign opener at Lord's.

His return for what will be the 100th Test at south London ground The Oval bolsters an already impressive pace attack that twice bowled England out cheaply at Trent Bridge.

Rabada slapped with one Test ban

Stokes, no stranger to on-field aggression himself, does not expect an enforced absence to have a marked change on Rabada's approach save only for a few alterations in the 22-year-old rising star's choice of words.

"I have no bad blood with him or any grudges — if anything it just shows he cares about how he performs," said Stokes at The Oval on Tuesday. "Unfortunately with stump mics — if you are going to say something loudly —it can't be a swear word, as I know personally. I would be very surprised if he calms anything down. That is what makes him the bowler he is — it is part of his repertoire, quick and aggressive."

Stokes already has points against his name as a result of offences under the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s code of conduct — the same cumulative procedure which led to Rabada's one-match ban.

Root in 'dreamworld' after first day heroics against South Africa

"It is part of the game ... you just need to be careful with what you say and where you say it," Stokes explained.

Meanwhile Stokes accepted England, now all square at 1-1 in this four-match series, needed to show greater flexibility in their batting after being skittled out for just 133 in their second innings at Trent Bridge.

This led to accusations from former England captain Michael Vaughan that the side now failed to "respect" Test cricket and that their only response to tough situations with the bat was to try to hit their way out of trouble.

"We weren't very happy with how it went last week — but we hope we can be better than we were, because we know we are," said Stokes. "I just think we didn't really know how to approach it, or were quick enough to adapt to what was in front of us. We went out there and expected to play how we all play, and didn't adapt to it."

The Durham star added: "But looking back if we had batted out those two days with all those overs we would have won the game. It was just all about adapting, and on day four we didn't manage to do it. Adapting will be the word we use in our meetings and in the future if we ever get stuck in that position again."


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