Ben Stokes says Englands wins over Pakistan show attacking mindset is embraced by county players

Ben Stokes says England’s much-changed white-ball side’s success against Pakistan shows how Eoin Morgan’s attacking philosophy has seeped into the county game.

​​​Stokes is standing in as captain for the ODI series against Pakistan with regular skipper Morgan and the whole of the initial 16-man squad forced into isolation after a Covid-19 outbreak.

The all-rounder has presided over two thumping wins over Babar Azam’s men, with a new-look England XI racing to a nine-wicket win in Cardiff on Thursday and then completing a 52-run, series-sealing victory at Lord’s on Saturday.

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Stokes, speaking ahead of the third and final ODI at Edgbaston on Tuesday, said: “With how vocal we have been in the media about how we want to play, I think players see that, read that and come in and buy into the mindset we have as a white-ball group.

“Everyone who has come into this squad has lived up to the reputation and mindset we have as an England team. It’s different personnel but everyone has tried to play in the way we want.

“It’s so pleasing to have a group of young players coming from county cricket and straight into international cricket and not let the occasion faze them whatsoever. I think how vocal we have been has definitely rubbed off onto the guys that have come in.”

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Paceman Saqib Mahmood has taken six wickets across the two games so far, including Babar twice, while Dawid Malan, Zak Crawley, Phil Salt and James Vince have hit fifties.

Stokes said: “When I looked at the squad I thought that even though it was a last-minute thing, it was still a seriously strong and talented squad.

“I knew that we would be able to compete against Pakistan – but it would be a lie to say I am not surprised at how easily we have managed to do it.

“I think it’s a reflection of the mindset England has when it comes to white-ball cricket – the modern way of playing is to go out and express yourselves, not worry about the occasion and be fearless.

“A great thing to come out of the series is inexperienced guys performing on the biggest stage against a very experienced Pakistan side. To take the series two games in is massive credit to the team.

“With such a tight turnaround to get a group of players together, to be able to put all that to one side and put in the performances have done, is an incredible achievement.

“When you have a re-jig, a whole new squad comes in and puts in such good performances, that only adds to the expectations that get put onto the main guys’ shoulders when they come back.”

Stokes – who collected his 100th ODI cap at Lord’s on Saturday – says his main goal as stand-in skipper was not to alter anything put in place by Morgan.

15 of the current squad in isolation. Buttler and Archer injured. What @benstokes38 and the team have achieved is incredible 🙌🏻 Looking forward to watching the next game!

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The 30-year-old – who revealed Morgan had texted him before the opening ODI saying he was there as a sounding board if required – added: “Being under Morgs’ captaincy for such a long period of time now, I have an understanding of what works well in this environment.

“I wasn’t at all going to change that mindset of how he wants the group to feel and play. I was very conscious of trying my best to continue that, making everyone feel as comfortable as possible and that we were going to play the way Morgs had led us.

“I hope that has helped to take the nerves away and the pressure off. I don’t know but from the results we have had, I would like to say it has helped!”

Edgbaston will turn #BlueForBob at the third ODI on Tuesday, with the day remembering the late, great Bob Willis and raising awareness of and funds for prostate cancer research.

Former England bowler and Sky Sports commentator Willis passed away from prostate cancer at the age of 70 in December 2019. To donate to the Bob Willis Fund, visit

Watch the #BlueForBob third ODI between England and Pakistan, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Tuesday.

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