Ahmed came close to making the XI for that first Test when the participation of left-arm spinner Jack Leach was thrown into doubt after he was affected by a virus that infected half the squad. Leach, along with the offspin of Joe Root and Will Jacks, has provided slower bowling options on two flat pitches.
Stokes said, ‘We are thinking about it. “I and Baz can’t go into too much detail unless [Brendon McCullum] Have seen the wicket.
“When we talked about getting Rehaan in the team, it was more than just bringing him and getting him into the team. We said we had no problem picking him if we felt it was the right choice. I don’t think it’s a case, if he’s going to play, of giving the cap. We picked him in the team not only because of his talent, but because we thought it would be a good opportunity to play if we Thought it was necessary.”
That opportunity came during training camp, and McCullum was impressed with both Ahmed’s ability and mindset. Although he did not enjoy the best of times with the ball in the England v England Lions warm-up match, conceding 73 runs in eight wicketless overs, he provided a snapshot of his grip with the bat when he scored 26 runs from 10 balls for the Lions .
He has continued to make an impression in the last few weeks. And it was instructive that, when asked what he made of the youngster, Stokes admitted he was not sure which of Ahmed’s two suits was the stronger.
“I’m struggling to find out what it is, whether it’s a batsman or a legspinner, which I think is good because it shows how much talent he has. What should we do with the bat in that summer? Can do, got a snippet of it – game summary above.
“But having a wrist spinner is always exciting, especially for England, but it doesn’t do much with his ability, because he’s only young, and you still have to nurture talent, no matter how exciting it is.” Are. “
Significantly, if Ahmed is selected, he will be the first player from a minority background to be selected under Stokes’ captaincy. All nine XIs selected so far have been exclusively white.
The lack of diversity around the England team is mainly a reflection of the issues down the series. Asked about the issue, Stokes said he believes cricket is an inclusive sport but admitted that Ahmed can inspire future generations.
“Whenever I am asked about it, I have always felt that cricket is an inclusive sport,” he said. “Certainly, in my time in the England team you have been selected first and foremost for your skill as a cricketer. This should still be the way forward regardless of your beliefs or what you or whatever. If you are good enough to represent this country, you will be selected.
“The players love Rehaan in particular, he can be an incredible example to young kids who want to come up. He’s probably heard what’s happened in cricket recently.” [but] She can be seen as an example of ‘No, we hope this 18-year-old’s got to be a potential superstar, why can’t I be?’ But for me English cricket has always been about if you’re good enough you’ll get picked and I don’t think it’s going to be any different going forward.”
Vithusan Anthraja is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo