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'You Are Below Average': Former Aussie Captain Criticizes Stokes' Ashes 2023 Comments

Ben Stokes comments goes viral [X.com]Ben Stokes comments goes viral [X.com]

Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine has criticized Ben Stokes' recent comments during the Ashes 2023 series, where Stokes expressed that his England Test side would be remembered by those fortunate enough to witness their play. 

Stokes made these remarks in a documentary covering the series, which saw England miss the opportunity to level the five-match contest due to inclement weather at Old Trafford. 

He said, “And what we have managed to do is, we’ve managed to become a sports team that will live forever in the memory of people who were lucky enough to witness us play cricket.”

Following the series, which concluded with Australia retaining the urn after a 2-2 draw at the Oval, Paine questioned the appropriateness of Stokes' statements, particularly in light of England's failure to reclaim the Ashes on home soil. 

Paine acknowledged the positive sentiment behind Stokes' words, likening them to the philosophy instilled by head coach Brendon McCullum.

"I think it was taken slightly out of context because he was talking in a changing room and it was a bigger speech, so I will say that," Paine remarked during an interview. 

He added a blunt assessment of England's current standing in international cricket, labeling them as below-average and suggesting they needed to confront this reality.

“You’re coming dead last in the World Test Championship. You’re not going to be a team that everyone remembers watching and you’re not doing anything outrageously good that we haven’t seen before.

"You’re an average cricket team. (Actually) you’re at the moment, a below-average cricket team and I think they need to get their head around that a little bit,” Paine further added.

Stokes' comments, delivered amidst disappointment over England's inability to seize victory in Manchester and ultimately win the series, aimed to uplift morale but have sparked debate over their timing and relevance.

Looking ahead, England will face West Indies in a three-match Test series starting July 10 at Lord's.