England want ‘umpire’s call’ abolished after ‘wrong’ Zak Crawley lbw

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RAJKOT — Ben Stokes has opened the door to bowling in the final two Tests in India after insisting his England team will not go into a downward spiral following their 434-run hammering in Rajkot.

England’s captain has not bowled in the seven months since last summer’s second Ashes Test at Lord’s but says that could change with his side 2-1 down in the series and his body feeling good after knee surgery last November.

Stokes insisted before the series began and again before this third Test he would not bowl at all during the series but the prospect of him returning as a genuine all-rounder would be a massive boost to England’s chances of coming back in the series.

“I have progressed a lot faster than I thought I would,” he said.

“There will be a more detailed chat with the medical team to pass me off as not being a massive risk. I managed to bowl at 100 per cent in one of the warm up days here which made me feel pretty good.

“I felt like I could have bowled in this game but that would have been stupid. I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no [to bowling].”

On picking up his players ahead of the fourth Test that starts in Ranchi on Friday, Stokes said: “Games are won or lost in the head.

“You’ve got to learn from disappointment but use it in a positive way, not let it eat you. I’ve played 100 Test matches now and I know thinking too deep into certain things can send you into a downhill spiral.

“It’s about what we do in the next two games. All I’m thinking about as a captain is winning this series 3-2.”

Stokes has also called for the abolition of umpire’s call in the Decision Review System (DRS) after he and England coach Brendon McCullum spoke to match referee Jeff Crowe to clarify Zak Crawley’s dismissal on the final day of this match.

Crawley was given out lbw to Jasprit Bumrah and unsuccessfully reviewed the decision. Stokes was baffled after feeling the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking showed Bumrah’s delivery missing the stumps.

It follows his complaints about DRS following Crawley’s second-innings dismissal in the previous Test in Visakhapatnam when replays suggested the ball that trapped him lbw was missing the stumps.

RAJKOT, INDIA - FEBRUARY 18: Jasprit Bumrah of India successfully appeals for the wicket of Zak Crawley of England during day four of the 3rd Test Match between India and England at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 18, 2024 in Rajkot, India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Zak Crawley fell leg-before to a Jasprit Bumrah delivery (Photo: Getty)

“We just wanted some clarity around Zak’s DRS,” Stokes said.

“The ball is quite clearly missing the stumps. So when it gets given umpire’s call we were a bit bemused.

“We just wanted some clarity from the Hawk-Eye guys. It came back saying the numbers, or whatever that is, was saying it was hitting the stumps but it was the projection that was wrong. I don’t know what that means.

“Something’s gone wrong. It’s not me blaming that on what’s happened here. It’s just, what’s going on?

“When the people that use the system are saying something has gone wrong who’s to say it’s not gone wrong at another time that could prove pivotal? Umpire’s call, personally I think we should just get rid of it. If it’s hitting the stumps, it’s hitting the stumps, then it’s a level playing field.”

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