‘Virat and I Don’t Really Come Across Each Other’- Ben Stokes Opens about His Rivalry with Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes have quite often made the headlines for their rivalry on the field. However, when Stokes’ announced his retirement from ODI format, Kohli posted, ‘You’re the most competitive bloke I’ve ever played against. Respect’

Kohli and Stokes have shared a bitter-sweet rivalry over the years with some run-ins, heated exchanges, verbal volleys but both have had respect for each other’s work and accomplishments.

Unveiling their bond, Stokes recently spoke to Hindustan Times and said, “To be honest, Virat and I don’t really come across each other that much. We’ve played Test cricket against each other and in IPL. In the time that we have spent together, albeit very small, it’s fine. When you’re out on the field, it’s me against the opposition or it’s me against an individual. You’ve got to separate the two – the on-field competition and off it. It’s not a case of where we are little children and when if we do have a bit of a go at each other on the field, as soon as we are off it, it’s just back to two individuals who are in the same room together, and it’s fine.”

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Stokes further added that in any sport, there are always  battles and contests between individuals but at the end of the day, there is always respect between oppositions. To solidify his point, he gave Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios’ example about respectful rivalries in sports.

He said, “Look, sport produces amazing contests not only between teams but you also have those battles and contests between individuals. But at the end of the day, there is always respect between oppositions, between individuals, and it’s just in our sports. Just an example – you look at Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. They have obviously had a huge rivalry but still at the end of the day, there is always that respect there between the two professional athletes. That’s the same for us and through sports. You are always going to have a battle and trying your hardest to win a game. But when it comes to the end of it, there is always that respect and that’s what great sport. One sportsman respects the other.”

Stokes’ documentary, ‘Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes’, will launch on Amazon Prime on August 26. The documentary captures Stokes’ most personal and challenging moments, including the final visit to see his terminally ill father and his struggles with mental health.

He also highlighted how the documentary includes some of the most significant moments of his life including  getting arrested for punching two men in the night and bowling that unforgettable final over to Carlos Brathwaite in the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup. Therefore, the documentary covers everything from giving England its long-awaited World Cup glory to being recently appointed as Test captain.

“The title is self-explanatory. Means a lot to me. I guess the reason behind it is when you look at it, especially my personal life and cricket life has been about ‘how can you come out of things like – not letting some moments define you and as you move forward. When you come down, how are you going to get back out there, out of the problem. That’s what a phoenix represents and it’s pretty powerful to me,” highlighted Stokes.

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