Abu Dhabi, Feb 8 (IANS) Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has credited the regime of captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum for the success of England’s spinners in the first two Tests in India.
The five-match series is tied at 1-1 currently, with the third Test to be played in Rajkot from February 15. England’s young spinners, Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir have collectively picked 26 wickets from the first two Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.
“That just shows how great the team environment is. Tommy and Bash, you’ve seen them come in and not be nervous and that’s credit to the team. The environment and the leadership we have, it does make you kind of forget the players you are playing against — we just focus on what we need to do<‘ Rehan Ahmed told BBC.
“They (Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum) just don’t care about how bad things can go. It’s always about what good you can get out of it. So if I bowl four bad balls and get a wicket, that’s better than bowling 16 good balls in a row,” he added.
Complimenting the spinners’ performance has been wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who has taken six catches and two stumpings in the first two Tests so far. All three of Ahmed’s Test appearances since his debut against Pakistan at Karachi in December 2022 have been with Foakes behind the stumps.
“I have never seen anyone as good as him. I reckon he is the best keeper in the world, ever. He trains so hard. I just don’t see him miss a ball. I can’t even explain how good he is. A couple of those catches (in the second Test) he took 80-90 overs into the game. It’s very hot, it’s humid and he is still taking those types of catches,” he said.
Ahmed also revealed that Stokes has given him and team-mate Bashir, who are both practising Muslims, time off from training sessions to attend their Friday prayers. “I remember a time in Abu Dhabi when there was a team day out on a Friday. We had Friday prayers. Obviously, me and Bash (Bashir) were there.”
“I messaged Wayno (Wayne Bentley), the team manager, asking if we could miss this day because we needed to pray. Stokes messaged me straight away and said ‘Come to me whenever you want about this kind of stuff, I understand it fully’. And yes he’s stuck by his word. Every time I pray he is so respectful and very understanding. Everyone is on this tour.”