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There are 5,000 miles between England and India and for Ben Stokes, just back from the IPL, Leeds seems Authentic Mike Bibby Youth Jersey a world away from Pune. He is here to prepare for England’s ODI against South Africa on Wednesday and, though Yorkshire is one of the few places on earth aside from India where cricket could fairly be described, to borrow Stokes’ phrase, as “a religion”, they are a little more solemn in their observance of it round Headingley way. “It’s completely different to England,” he says. “They go mad for it. They’ll queue up for five hours just to see Dhoni walk out on to the pitch.” It’s a relief, he says, to be able to “walk across the road and get a coffee” without having everyone pester you for “selfie, selfie, selfie”.While most of Stokes’ English team-mates were pottering about the county grounds he was playing alongside MS Dhoni and Steve Smith for Rising Pune Supergiant. They made the IPL final – where they lost to the Mumbai Indians by a single run on Sunday – but Stokes missed the game. He, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler were http://www.officialhawkstore.com/Mike_Dunleavy_Jersey recalled from the IPL for England’s training camp in Spain, even though they were allowed to skip the two one-day internationals against Ireland. If the traditionalists were annoyed the trio had missed the England matches, IPL fans were just as irked that they were not around to take part in the tournament’s final rounds.“It’s pathetic,” said Kevin Pietersen on Sky Sports, “an absolute shambles.” Stokes, stuck in the middle, is a little more diplomatic. “Before the tournament started it was made clear that all of us, me, Woakesy and Jos, were available for the 14 group games and then, if either of the teams got through to the finals, which obviously Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune managed to do, we weren’t available for that,” he said. “So all three teams were aware of that and we were aware of that as players as well, so that was always the thing going into it.” In Spain, he said, the England squad had done “a lot of fitness work, fielding work and a lot of team-bonding stuff”.Pune certainly missed him. The coach, Stephen Fleming, admitted as much after the game. Stokes, who started the IPL as the most expensive player in the tournament after he sold for £1.7m, finished it by being named the most valuable. He scored 316 runs in 12 matches, with a strike rate of 143 and an average of 32, and he took 12 wickets at 26 runs each, with an Emmanuel Mudiay Jersey economy rate of 7.18. He won three man-of-the-match awards, which is a better measure of his influence, for his three for 18 against RCB, his two for 21 against Mumbai and his 103 against Gujarat Lions.As for the money, “once the whole thing started you wipe that under the carpet,” he says, “and you judge yourself solely on how you perform on the pitch. That’s where all the pressure came on myself, in wanting to go out there and put in performances for the team I was playing for.” If he is a richer, happier and more famous player now, he says he is also a better one. For the first time in his career he was able to spend a stretch of time on specialist T20 skills, instead of fitting the practice into his schedule between one-day, Test and championship games.“Being able to work hard on those skills for six weeks was a really good thing to be able to do,” Stokes says. “Being able to work with specialist coaches in Twenty20 cricket, I think my bowling has gone up another level.”The main benefit is that “all in all I think my areas are a lot better and tighter than they have been recently in one-day cricket, which came down from just working solely with [the bowling coach] Eric Simons over the six weeks I was there.” On top of that he got more experience “batting in different situations and under different pressure” so, he says, “all parts of my game have got better”.The curious thing about http://www.authenticnuggetstore.com/Emmanuel_Mudiay_Jersey the IPL is Stokes found himself working with the Australia captain, Smith. “I remember doing a batting session with some power-hitting towards the end where the guy who I will be playing against in the Ashes in our winter was helping me, which is something that you would never be able to fathom when you are playing against each other. When you have got two guys who are going to play each other and want to be winning and have their own ways of going about it end up working together – IPL is probably the only place where you get that.”Next up are the three ODIs against South Africa, then the Champions Trophy. “We’ve earned the right to be the favourites,” Stokes says. “But we’re keeping our feet firmly on the ground and we know this is the competition with the best eight teams in the world and anyone can beat anyone.”The worry is that it will all take a toll. And while he says he hopes he will be able to play “everything in the next two or three seasons”, including the IPL, he does admit “we just have to see how the body copes with everything”. And if there are any more conflicts in the schedule he is clear about where his loyalties Authentic Cameron Wake Youth Jersey lie. “Playing for England,” he says, “is always the main priority.”nglish crowds will miss out on the thrill of watching Dale Steyn snake in to bowl this summer but in Kagiso Rabada, Russell Domingo, the South Africa coach, believes his side possess a strike bowler for whom similar modern greatness is possible.Rabada turns 22 on Thursday and yet his cricketing CV is already one pointing in this direction, having spent the two and a half years since his Proteas debut in late 2014 claiming 150 international wickets across all formats as the fast bowling cognoscenti purr about an easy, athletic action and batsmen trudge off with an accepting nod of the head.In Test cricket the highlights reel from his 71 wickets in 17 caps includes 13 against England in Centurion last year, while Australia woke up to his charms during the 2-1 series defeat at home in November when Rabada picked up 15 victims as Faf du Plessis’s side induced a hefty – if all too brief – spell of antipodean soul-searching.One-day cricket kicks off the South African tour of England and a three-match series starting at Headingley on Wednesday that leads into the Champions Trophy. This, too, is a format Rabada has enjoyed in his early career, with his 57 wickets at 25 runs apiece the most by any quick since the last World Cup and including a hat-trick on debut against Bangladesh in a six-wicket haul. Little wonder, then, that with Steyn out of the entire trip through injury and Kyle Abbott having defected to Hampshire at the start of the year, the head coach views the 6ft 2in right-armer from Johannesburg as his key man this summer.“He could be as good as Steyn,” said Domingo, whose side take on Northamptonshire on Sunday in their second warm-up fixture of the tour. “He’s a fantastic prospect for us and we’re expecting really big things from him this tour. He’s got pace and he’s got a wonderful head on his shoulders, with a great outlook on life.