Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Just Happy to Feast on Runs Rather Than Local Delicacies; THE PREVIEW: India V England Second Test, Visakhapatnam

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Just Happy to Feast on Runs Rather Than Local Delicacies; THE PREVIEW: India V England Second Test, Visakhapatnam

Article excerpt

Byline: David Clough in Vizag

IF Ben Stokes is off his food for the rest of England's tour of India, the tourists know they will be doing just fine.

England's champion all-rounder spent the best part of five hours with an empty stomach in the first Test - because, he explains, when he is batting he has an appetite only for fours and sixes with the odd defensive shot thrown in against the spinners, these days.

The Durham all-rounder simply cannot face food, at lunch or tea, if he is in the middle of an innings.

He said: "I can't eat when I'm not out, I don't know why."

His abstinence causes plenty of consternation among England's medical staff, of course - especially in the stamina-sapping conditions of the sub-continent where cramp can strike without fluid intake.

The specialists just have to put up with it, though - for example during Stokes' outstanding first-innings century in England's draw in Rajkot - because while the Cumbrian is laying off the food it means he is instead feasting on runs.

There were 128 of them to the common cause by the time he was done on day two of the first Test and ready at last for a naan bread or a peck of rice.

Until then, no matter what England's nutritionists tried, they could not tempt him.

Stokes said: "Our physio, and strength and conditioning and doctor were trying to force-feed me pretty much.

"I literally can't eat, not even a protein shake or anything. I've never been able to do it."

In what he believes was his firstever innings of 200 balls or more, Stokes' regular stretching at the crease proved his body knew he needed nourishment even if he did not. He added: "That was the reason for the cramp, so they're pretty much on my case to make sure I eat whenever I can.

"It doesn't really affect you in England because it is always freezing ... (but) cramping up does relate back to not eating".

It does not help on this tour either that the spicy fare of India is not his favourite.

He said: "I don't like this type of food. I was trying to eat naan bread, daal and rice but I can't eat anything - not a banana, nothing. …

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