Ben Stokes plays down heated conversation with Virat Kohli in Ahmedabad Test

Neha Singh

England all-rounder Ben Stokes played down the heated exchange between himself and India captain Virat Kohli on Day 1 of the 4th Test in Ahmedabad saying, people think "it's all wrong" when they see two players have a conversation with each other during play.
Ben Stokes said both him and Virat Kohli are "competitive guys" and it's a given that none of them will back down when there is a contest going on in the middle.

Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes were seen having a go at each other on Day 1 of the 4th and final Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday. It started after pacer Mohammed Siraj bowled a bouncer to Stokes and exchanged a few words with the England all-rounder.

As they changed ends between overs, Virat Kohli was spotted in a heated exchange with Ben Stokes. On-field umpires had to intervene as both the stars were engaged in an intense conversation. Kohli kept needling Stokes throughout the England all-rounder's innings on an intense day of cricket at the Motera.
"The thing in cricket nowadays is that it becomes a massive talking point when two opponents have a word with each other. People seem, I do not know, not lose their heads but they think it is all wrong," Stokes told the press after Day 1.

"Look at it from a different way, guys care about what they are doing and what they are representing. Playing against each other, we are competitors and we are not going to back down to anyone, whoever it may be.

"It is nice to see two competitors going toe to toe against each other and no one is backing down. For me, that was it, two competitive guys trying to get over each other."

Mohammed Siraj, who picked up the crucial wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, was pumped up as he bowled with a lot of heart on Day 1 of the 4th Test. Speaking to the broadcasters after the day's play, Siraj claimed that Kohli had to step in after Stokes 'abused' him on the field.

"In Australia, or in India, wherever I bowl, I want to put 100% effort to bowl. Every ball, I tell myself, 'bowl properly.' Ben Stokes Mujhe gaali diya (abused me) so I told Virat Bhai about that. Virat Bhai handled it thereafter," Siraj said.

Ben Stokes hit 55 as he anchored England innings but the all-rounder was not able to convert it into a big knock as the visitors were bundled out for 205 on a relatively flat pitch at the Motera. Axar Patel and R Ashwin once again tormented the England batsmen, picking up 7 wickets between them while Washington Sundar got the big wicket of Stokes.

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