In the wake of England's recent nine-wicket loss to New Zealand in the 2023 World Cup opener, fast bowler Mark Wood has spoken out against the notion of over-reliance on star all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Wood's comments come as Stokes missed the match due to injury, leaving a noticeable void in the England lineup.
Despite Stokes' absence, England succumbed to a defeat, prompting discussions about the team's dependence on the all-rounder. Harry Brook, who replaced Stokes in the lineup, showed glimpses of promise but ultimately couldn't fill the void left by the dynamic cricketer.
Speaking ahead of England's upcoming clash with Bangladesh, Wood emphasized that Stokes, although a vital asset to the team, cannot be expected to carry the entire burden. Wood's statement serves as a reminder that cricket is a team sport, and every player must step up to contribute to their side's success.
Ben Stokes is not a ‘superman'”‘
“I don't want to put too much pressure on him. He's not Superman,” Wood stated candidly.
He acknowledged Stokes as one of England's premier players but stressed the importance of collective efforts. Wood also revealed that Stokes was still dealing with strappings on his knee, indicating that his full recovery might take some time.
“He's obviously one of our best players, if not our best player, but all the lads have to stand up as well. He's got strapping round his leg, which is helping. He'll have to get in the nets and see if the strapping does its job and allows him to move how he wants,” Wood explained.
Ben Stokes, who came out of ODI retirement ahead of the World Cup, had recently made headlines with a blazing 182-run performance in the four-game series against New Zealand. His return to the squad had raised high expectations among fans and experts alike.
Wood also expressed confidence in the resilience and unity of the England team, emphasizing their ability to bounce back from setbacks. England has a history of turning things around even after surprising group-stage defeats, as seen in their World Cup victories in 2019 and last year's T20 World Cup.
Defeat in our #CWC23 opener in Ahmedabad.
We head up to Dharamshala to face Bangladesh on Tuesday.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) October 5, 2023
“A great trait of the group is resilience and bouncing back, and calmness within the group,” Wood remarked. “I trust every member in there: they've been through bad times and good times. [We'll use it] to prove that we want to keep this trophy, to prove people wrong, and there'll be question marks now. But as a group, we believe in each other, and it's another chance for us to show how good a side we are.”
With their defending champion status at stake, England is likely to make one or two changes in their lineup as they prepare to face Bangladesh in Dharamshala. As the tournament progresses, the team's ability to regroup and adapt will be crucial in their quest to retain the World Cup trophy.