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Ben Stokes admits to taking satisfaction from South Africa captain Dean Elgar’s ‘Bazball’ comments

‘Keep talking about it!’: Ben Stokes admits to taking satisfaction from South Africa captain Dean Elgar’s ‘Bazball’ comments, with the opener ‘not interested’ in England’s new aggressive approach

  • England captain Ben Stokes has hit back at South Africa counterpart Dean Elgar
  • Stokes said he has taken satisfaction on Elgar’s criticism of England’s new style
  • Elgar said he has ‘absolutely no interest’ in Stokes’ side’s aggressive approach
  • England face South Africa in the first Test at Lord’s, starting on Wednesday 

 Ben Stokes urged South Africa to carry on their apparent obsession with ‘Bazball’ and let England continue transforming the way Test cricket is played.

The build-up to the first Test at Lord’s has seen South Africa become increasingly prickly when asked about the all-action style that has seen England win their first four Tests under the thrilling leadership of Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

And that has delighted an England captain who has seen his opposite number Dean Elgar fixate on his opponents, insisting England will end up with ‘egg on their faces’ if they maintain an all-out attacking approach that proved far too hot for New Zealand and India to handle.

Ben Stokes had admitted to taking satisfaction from Dean Elgar speak about 'Bazball'

Ben Stokes had admitted to taking satisfaction from Dean Elgar speak about ‘Bazball’

South Africa captain Elgar has said he 'has absolutely no interest' in England's new approach

South Africa captain Elgar has said he ‘has absolutely no interest’ in England’s new approach

‘The opposition seem to be doing a lot of talking about it at the moment,’ said Stokes as England prepared to carry on where they left off in Test cricket before a six-week break for the white-ball game. ‘We just concentrate on what we do.

‘We’ve got a style of play, they’ve got a style of play, but at the end of the day it’s bat against ball and whoever plays best over a Test is more than likely to win.

‘I don’t want to dive into it too much but I’m happy for Dean and the South African team to keep saying they’re not interested but then also keep talking about it.’

Elgar, who has banned his team from talking about ‘Bazball’, the term given to England’s style in honour of McCullum’s nickname, initially tried to resist biting again when asked about the word, as far as South Africa are concerned, that shall not be used.

Jonny Bairstow has been one of England's star players since Stokes took over as captain

Jonny Bairstow has been one of England’s star players since Stokes took over as captain

Ben Foakes returns to the England side after Covid

Zak Crawley has retained his place despite a difficult summer

Ben Foakes (left) returns to the England side, whilst Zak Crawley (right) retains his place

Bowler Ollie Robinson (right) will have to wait for a return to the side despite proving his fitness

Bowler Ollie Robinson (right) will have to wait for a return to the side despite proving his fitness

‘I am not going to entertain that anymore,’ he said. ‘We have chatted about it long and hard and I just want to crack on with the cricket. The game deserves that respect and mud slinging is now a thing of the past for me. I’m not going to go back and forth with it.’

But the gritty opener, more of a traditional blocker than a Bazballer, couldn’t help himself when asked about South Africa’s thrashing at the hands of an England Lions side last week who followed Stokes example in producing a high-octane performance of their own.

‘I read absolutely nothing into that warm-up game,’ added Elgar. ‘It was a good exercise for us and if England come out playing like that in an official Test and it all goes pear shaped that will not look very good for them.’

 

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