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Why Ben Stokes couldn’t watch Jack Leach bat in the final throes at Headingley

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ben Stokes has opened up on why he couldn’t stand to watch Jack Leach bat in the final moments of the 2019 Ashes Headingley Test, instead going down on his haunches and looking at the ground.

When asked by former England captain Nasser Hussain about his emotions during the ‘Sky Easter Watchalong’, Stokes said the overriding feeling was of not wanting Leach to feel that the defeat was his fault.

“It’s about this time that you stop looking. You get down on your haunches and you don’t want to watch Leachy batting. Why?” asked Hussain.

“It was just because I was powerless,” said Stokes. “It had got to the point now where I was like, we’re so close to winning this. Whereas before it was like, ‘yeah we can still do it but we’re still quite far away’. When it’s 18 to win and I’m powerless, it was just so hard to watch.

“Say if one of us was to get out and we didn’t win this game, I would so much rather it would have been me than Leachy, because Leachy just would have been devastated but it’s not his job to do that. He was our No.11. I would much rather it had been me that had gotten out.”

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