England all-rounder Ben Stokes, in his soon-to-be-released book 'On Fire', expressed his bafflement at how India approached the game against their side during the 2019 World Cup. He said that Indian captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma "showed no desire" to put pressure on England.
It was the game in Birmingham where England defeated India by 31 runs. In a 338-run chase, India were restricted to 306/5 in fifty overs. England's new ball bowlers Chris Wokes and Jofra Archer kept a tight leash on Rohit and Kohli as they consumed nearly 27 overs for their 138-run stand.
"The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre," Stokes wrote.
"They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands."
The English all-rounder also talked about MS Dhoni, who was also criticised for his reasonably slow innings.
"Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. (ALSO READ: Stokes recalls Kohli's 'bizarre' complaint after 2019 WC match)
"There was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav.
To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke," Stokes wrote in his book.
Stokes further explained that the England camp had assumed that Dhoni might have prioritised healthy net run-rate for India in the tournament.
"There is a theory in our camp that Dhoni's way of playing has always been the same. Even if India can't win the game, he takes it right to the end to try to make sure that India's run rate stays relatively healthy," Stokes wrote.
"His big thing has always been to give himself a chance of winning by being at the crease for the final over, but he generally likes to stick around to get as close to a target as possible even in a losing cause.