Games

England’s Stokes says optimism, experience helped him cope with Ashes pressure

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LONDON : England captain Ben Stokes said on Monday that he had drawn on his natural optimism and experience as a player to help cope with the mental pressure of guiding England to a 2-2 draw in the Ashes series against Australia.

England secured a dramatic 49-run win in the final test at The Oval, bagging seven wickets late in the afternoon to deprive the visitors of their first Ashes series victory in England since 2001.

Stokes spoke frankly about the pressure he had faced during the series after England lost the first two tests, won the third and then missed out on a possible win in the fourth as rain washed out most of the last two days of play.

“There have been a lot of 6:30 wake-ups on day four and day five when my alarm has been set for 8:15,” he told reporters.

“I remember as a player being in big games, big days in a test match where it’s ‘This day will define the game itself’. You don’t have to worry about it being a player. But obviously being the captain your mind goes to different places,” he said.

“It just adds a different dimension to the whole game.”

He said he felt he’d handled the pressure well, mainly by staying positive and using his experience.

“I think I’ve stuck to myself as a person and myself as a personality around the group. I’m obviously a very optimistic person and try to keep the dressing room as optimistic as I possibly can,” he said.

“That comes from experience. Playing a lot of test cricket, being involved in a lot of situations like that as a player and not as a captain actually helped me in some of the big moments within these last three games,” he added.

“So I’m pretty proud in terms of the way I’ve handled the pressure situations in some of these games.”

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