Ben Stokes hits back at Steve Harmison ahead of India Test tour

England will play a five-match Test series against Rohit Sharma-led unit from January to March

By Web Desk
December 28, 2023
Ben Stokes (L) responded to Steve Harmison (R) in a post on X. — REUTERS/AFP

Ben Stokes hit back at Steve Harmison after the former pacer said that England deserved to lose 5-0 if they arrived three days before the five-match Test series commences.

Harmison criticised England’s preparation ahead of their trip to India as Stokes’ men will look to win a Test series in India only for the second time in their history.

Stokes replied to the former pacer confirming that the team will travel to United Arab Emirates (UAE) before heading to India to prepare for the red-ball tour to be played under tough conditions.

“Good job we're going to Abu Dhabi for a training camp before we go to India for even more training before that first Test then, isn't it?" Stokes posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Harmison suggested that approach was insufficient, telling talkSPORT: "If England go in three days before, they deserve to get beat 5-0, they really do.

"I'm an old man, that's what they'll say," he continued. "Times have changed, but preparation hasn't changed. I love this new approach, I love Ben Stokes and [head coach] Brendon McCullum. But I'm sorry, going three days before... You'd never do that for an Ashes series

"You'd never go to Australia three days before the Gabba, so why go three days before Hyderabad? For me it stinks, it absolutely stinks."

England’s most recent outing in India wasn’t the most pleasing one as they had a shambolic run in the ICC World Cup 2023 where they only managed to win three out of nine matches.

Stokes last led England in a red-ball game against Australia at the Oval which they won, eventually ending in an Ashes draw.

The five-match series will begin on January 25, 2024, and will continue till March. Five different venues, Hyderabad, Vizag, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala, will host the matches.