England’s 3-0 series whitewash over Pakistan will take a while to sink in, skipper Ben Stokes said Tuesday, calling the result “pretty special”.
The tourists wrapped up the third Test and the series by effortlessly knocking off the 55 runs needed for victory, taking the match by eight wickets to go with wins by 74 runs and 26 runs in Rawalpindi and Multan.
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“It won’t really sink in until we get home or in the new year,” Stokes said after securing what was only England’s second series whitewash in the subcontinent following a similar result in Sri Lanka in 2018.
“I know it’s a cliched thing, but being out in the subcontinent is one of the hardest places to do it,” Stokes said.
“I understand, and we understand, what we’ve done is pretty special… to win 3-0 out here, it will be something to be really proud of.”
The win validated England’s decision to play the bold and aggressive cricket dubbed “Bazball” after the nickname of head coach Brendon McCullum.
England under the new set-up of McCullum and Stokes have now triumphed in nine of their last 10 Tests since taking charge of a misfiring side that had won just one of their previous 17 — including a 4-0 Ashes humiliation in Australia.
Stokes said everything he tried came off on the slow and turning pitches of Pakistan.
Seeing his tactics work in tough conditions “is the best thing”, Stokes said.
He had praise for every member of his side.
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“I think everyone who has played has, at some point throughout the series, put their hand up and contributed to us winning a game,” he said.
“They’ve been amazing as well. Just a great place to be at the moment for a team, where everyone wants everyone to succeed and everyone understands their position in the team — even if they’re not playing.”
Stokes had warm words for leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who at 18 years and 128 days became England’s youngest Test player and then the youngest in the world to take five wickets on debut.
“For an 18-year-old to come into his first Test match and have such a cricket-savvy brain — especially under Test-match pressure — was really good for us,” said Stokes.
“We got a sniff of what he can do with the bat as well. Very talented young man, and I think just let him progress.”