All-Rounder Ben Stokes promised England fans his teammates would not take a backward step as they soak up the disappointment of losing to their great rivals Australia at Lord’s.
Stokes played a noble hand but his 89 was not enough to stop the world champions winning this key match by 64 runs. And that puts the hosts in a precarious position following their third defeat with just two group matches left, matches against India and New Zealand.
Yet Stokes, who produced a superb 115-ball knock featuring two sixes and eight fours, offered a rallying cry when asked if he had a message for worried fans.
“This is our World Cup,” he said. “We’ve had great support over the last four years and we know how much the World Cup means to fans and we know that as players.
“It’s one of the biggest times and greatest times to be a cricketer, which is to represent your country at a World Cup. But we are not going to take a backwards step and, as I’ve said, this is our World Cup and we are going to go about it how we want to.”
The all-rounder was adamant that there was ‘nothing to worry about’ regarding his fitness after hobbling through much of his innings and he was insistent that he would be ready for the match against India at Edgbaston on Sunday, which now has a ‘must-win’ look about it.
Stokes, who has been on the losing side twice in succession despite innings of 82 not out against Sri Lanka and now his 89, conceded: “I think it’s just disappointing, losing. Everyone tries to go out there and play knocks to get over the line for the team. “But normally we have two or three guys in the order who can do that. We have to really dig deep in these last couple of games here, not go back on how we know we play well.
“Look, everybody’s obviously disappointed in the last two games but, you know, this is our World Cup and we are going to go about it the way we know how we play best.
“I think that’s our mindset, that’s what’s made us so successful in the last four years. Back-to-back losses can sometimes make you as a team think differently, but we are not going to go away from our method of playing.”