Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sledging Kohli Just Makes Him Want to Score More Runs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sledging Kohli Just Makes Him Want to Score More Runs

Article excerpt

Byline: James Taylor @Jamestaylor

I AM all in favour of Ben Stokes getting stuck into the opposition but I would advise him to leave Virat Kohli alone.

Stokes has already been reprimanded for his verbal clash with Kohli in the Third Test and now knows that a couple more incidents like these could mean a Test ban.

You can't take away this streak from Stokes, though. Nobody condones swearing at opponents but Stokes is at his best when he is aggressive and feisty.

Not only does that attitude get him going and get him into the contest, it brings others with him, too. However, you have to pick your opponents and Kohli is not the kind of player you want to sledge.

It is simply not worth getting involved with some players. Going back a few years, I'm told Brian Lara was one batsman who would perform even better if you riled him. There were a number of players on the county circuit during my playing days who fell into that category, though not many were in Lara's class.

Kohli (left) is one of the world's best and his numbers in this series 405 runs at an average of 101 suggest Stokes and England would be well advised to keep quiet when he is at the crease. If he tries to start an argument, just leave him be.

With India 2-0 up with two matches to play, it will be a huge task for England to square the series, especially after they were outplayed in the Third Test. To make matters worse, Haseeb Hameed is out of the series with a broken hand, meaning Keaton Jennings will line up as Alastair Cook's 11th opening partner since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.

When I first came across Jennings in county cricket, he was a tough guy who could stick in there as a batsman but I didn't necessarily see him becoming an England player. Now, though, he is by far the most improved batsman in the county game and deserves his place in the squad after making 1,548 runs, including seven hundreds, at 64. …

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