Australia in England 2015 September 6, 2015

I was just protecting myself - Stokes

Andrew McGlashan and Melinda Farrell

England allrounder Ben Stokes has insisted there was no wilful intent when he gloved away Mitchell Starc's throw at the stumps at Lord's and that he was purely thinking of protecting himself.

Stokes' reaction, as he spun away from the throw, came when he was out of his ground and led to him becoming the first England batsman - and sixth overall - to be given out obstructing the field in a one-day international.

Law 37, which governs obstructing the field, states: Either batsman is out obstructing the field if he wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.

"A guy was standing there five feet away from me and it was just a complete reaction," Stokes told ESPNcricinfo. "I didn't put my hand there wilfully, it was purely out of human reaction to protect myself. But the decision was made, there's nothing I can do but it wasn't wilful whatsoever."

Former England captains Michael Vaughan, Alec Stewart and Paul Collingwood were among those to criticise the decision. Collingwood, who was involved in controversy against New Zealand in 2008 when he refused to recall Grant Elliott after he was run out following a collision with Ryan Sidebottom and later admitted he had made an error, tweeted that Steven Smith "will regret that decision in the future."

There were heated scenes in the middle as the decision was made by third umpire Joel Wilson after the on-field officials, Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson, had indicated to England captain Eoin Morgan, who was at the crease alongside Stokes, that their initial reaction was that it was not out.

Morgan later said he would have withdrawn the appeal in the same situation, but Smith was adamant the correct decision had been reached. It led to the remainder of the match being played out to the sound of significant booing around Lord's and during the post-match presentation. Stokes, speaking at a Chance to Shine Street Cricket event in Birmingham, said the reaction may have got a little out of perspective.

"The crowd maybe got a bit out of control, there was a lot of booing going on with the incident. It's one of those decisions where you can't look back and have any regrets because it's been made, you can't change what's happened it's just a shame it came to the uproar it has.

"It probably took away from the fact that we haven't actually played very good cricket in the first couple of games which is the biggest thing for us so we just have to put it behind us."

Fast bowler Steven Finn had earlier said it was important that England do not dwell on the dismissal as the series heads to Old Trafford for the third match on Tuesday with them needing a win to stay in the contest.

"I think we'd be foolish to let the Stokes dismissal nag away at us," Finn said. "We have a young side - we have some quite emotional guys in that team. If we let that emotion come into our cricket, I don't think that it will serve us well.

"If we stick with the mantra of going out there and enjoying it, trying to show off and deliver our skills as best we can with a smile on our face, that will serve us far better than getting fired up and angry."

Ben Stokes took part in the Chance to Shine Street cricket programme in Birmingham, which is supported by Lycamobile.

Comments