England all-rounder Ben Stokes says he felt he “let the team down” in their heavy Ashes defeat in Australia.
The 30-year-old returned to action for the series in December after taking four months off to protect his mental well-being and rest an injured finger.
He claimed a total of just four wickets and only twice scored more than 50 runs as England lost the Ashes 4-0.
“The thing that grinds me the most, that hurts me the most is that I let a lot of other people down,” he said.
“One of my reflections on the tour as a whole was I personally felt that I let the team down, for more than just performances. I would have liked to be in better physical shape when I was in Australia.
“I never want to feel like that again because it was hard to take when you do sit down and reflect on things that don’t go quite well and Australia was one of them.”
Stokes’ 60 off 123 balls in the second innings of the fourth Test – having notched 66 in the first innings – helped England claim a dramatic draw in Sydney.
His efforts with the bat at the Sydney Cricket Ground, despite suffering a side strain while bowling, were the best he produced across the five-Test series.
Stokes said “everything just seemed harder than it normally is” when performing in Australia.
Initially he had not been included in England’s Ashes squad, but after a second operation on the finger he broke in April was added to the party shortly before it departed.
“I just wasn’t me. I wasn’t able to impact the game how I would like to or how I would normally do,” he added.
“When you can put your finger on something like that quite easily, then it is quite obvious what it is.”
Stokes is part of the England’s tour squad in the West Indies, with the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua starting on 8 March.
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original source: England’s Stokes says he felt he ‘let the team down’ during Ashes defeat