London - England's Ben Stokes has no qualms about playing
against South Africa's Kagiso Rabada when the fiery duo meet again in the third
Test at The Oval starting on Thursday.
Fast bowler Rabada was banned from the Proteas' 340-run
series-levelling win at Trent Bridge last week for swearing at Stokes after
dismissing the all-rounder in the campaign opener at Lord's.
His return for what will be the 100th Test at south London
ground The Oval bolsters an already impressive pace attack that twice bowled
England out cheaply at Trent Bridge.
Stokes, no stranger to on-field aggression himself, does not
expect an enforced absence to have a marked change on Rabada's approach save
only for a few alterations in the 22-year-old rising star's choice of words.
"I have no bad blood with him or any grudges - if
anything it just shows he cares about how he performs," said Stokes at an
event for series sponsors Investec, a banking and asset management company, at
The Oval on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately with stump mics - if you are going to
say something loudly - it can't be a swear word, as I know personally," he
"I would be very surprised if he calms anything down.
"That is what makes him the bowler he is - it is part
of his repertoire, quick and aggressive."
Stokes already has points against his name as a result of
offences under the International Cricket Council's code of conduct - the same
cumulative procedure which led to Rabada's one-match ban.
"It is part of the game ... you just need to be careful
with what you say and where you say it," Stokes explained.
Meanwhile Stokes accepted England, now all square at 1-1 in
this four-match series, needed to show greater flexibility in their batting
after being skittled out for just 133 in their second innings at Trent Bridge.
This led to accusations from former England captain Michael
Vaughan that the side now failed to "respect" Test cricket and that
their only response to tough situations with the bat was to try to hit their
way out of trouble.
"We weren't very happy with how it went last week - but
we hope we can be better than we were, because we know we are," said
"I just think we didn't really know how to approach it,
or were quick enough to adapt to what was in front of us.
"We went out there and expected to play how we all
play, and didn't adapt to it."
The Durham star added: "But looking back if we had
batted out those two days with all those overs we would have won the game.
"It was just all about adapting, and on day four we
didn't manage to do it.
"Adapting will be the word we use in our meetings and
in the future if we ever get stuck in that position again."