'Would I want to win a game in that manner? No' - Stokes' unfiltered take on Jonny Bairstow dismissal
England cricket players and fans were left fuming after Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey ran out his counterpart Jonny Bairstow for wandering outside the crease after ducking a bouncer on Day 5 of the famous Lord's Test in Ashes 2023.
For what was deemed a straightforward run-out by the third umpire and the match officials as they found Bairstow committing the rookie error of stepping outside his crease immediately after leaving the bouncer, English cricket once again, typically and conveniently so, evoked the unwritten 'Spirit of Cricket', with skipper Ben Stokes leading the bandwagon.
Even though there was nothing malicious in the throw and the run-out appeal from Carey, who picked up the ball and in one motion directed it at the stumps while Bairstow left the popping crease, Stokes and the England camp took real offence out of the matter and tried to rain on the Australian win by insisting that isn't the manner in which they would've preferred winning.
The captain did concede that Bairstow made an error and shouldn't have wandered outside the crease when the ball was still not dead. But he stressed he believes the Australians should've revoked their appeal and given the batter a chance - a moral stand taken on the matter by England yet again when the opposition was only playing by the laws.
Stokes at dismay over Bairstow run-out mishap
"If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have put more pressure on the umpires and asked whether they had called over and had a deep think about the whole spirit of the game and would I want to do something like that," Stokes told BBC's 'Test Match Special' after England's defeat.
In the break that took place after the Bairstow dismissal, lifetime members of the Lord's ground took an unprecedented route and abused the Australian players in the famous long room, signalling a collective disgust over the matter from the English. All of that for one of their players being merely subjected to the ramifications of not complying with the game's longstanding laws.
Stokes, however, was still convinced it wasn't fair play on his teammate.
"Jonny was in his crease, then out of his crease to come down and have the chat. I am not disputing the fact it is out because it is out. Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no."
"When is it justified that the umpires have called over? Are the on-field umpires making movement, is that enough to call over? I'm not sure," he added.