England’s ace all-rounder Ben Stokes on Tuesday strongly expressed his reservations against any sort of changes in Test cricket. Stokes, who played arguably the finest Test innings last year against Australia in Headingley, asserted that the traditional format – Test cricket will lose its sheen if it was tinkered and any sort of changes were made to make it more commercial. He said the world’s top players, including the likes of Virat Kohli or Joe Root, wouldn’t support any tinkering with the format to make it look ‘easy’ or viewer-friendly.

During a podcast organised by IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, the 28-year-old Stokes also expressed his admiration for the world’s number one Test batsman – Steve Smith.

“For me, Test cricket is the pinnacle. There’s been a lot of talk recently about Test cricket dying, but I don’t know where that comes from,” Stokes said.

“You ask all the players who, or maybe not all the players, but I know the likes of Virat (Kohli) and (Joe) Root have spoken about how Test cricket is where you really get tested.

“It’s where you find out what you are really about as a cricketer and for me it is the purest form of the sport. It has to stay around, it would be a sad, sad day if Test cricket was changed. If they are going to change the rules, I think they should call it ‘easy cricket’,” the flamboyant Englishman said.

Australian run-machine Smith has been one of England’s biggest adversaries on the cricket field, and Stokes said that he has always found him to be a bit strange but perhaps that’s how ‘geniuses are meant to be’.

“He’s still strange to play against and he’s still strange to play with and the best thing about it is that he admits it. He knows it, he knows it! But I feel to be a genius you have to be a bit strange and you know he’s certainly both.”

Rivalry could not take away the respect that Stokes has for Smith’s craft. “Even though he plays for Australia, biggest rivals England and Australia you’ve just got to hold your hands up sometimes to players like that and go yeah you’re on a different level when it comes to batting.”

Smith’s greatness lies in his attention to detail. “I could never be like that, personally I could not think about cricket in the way that he does when it comes to batting.

“You know obviously he’s on all the time but that’s why he averages sixty whatever he does in Test cricket but that’s not for me but it’s for him, who’s to say whose right or wrong.”