Ben Stokes has revealed the weight loss suffered by himself and his England team-mates during their fourth Test defeat to India last week.
All-rounder Stokes, opening batsman Dom Sibley, bowling legend Jimmy Anderson and spinner Jack Leach were among the England stars who suffered with an illness during the match in Ahmedabad.
Stokes defied the illness to score a half-century, in an otherwise lacklustre batting performance, before taking four wickets in 41C heat.
With the issue of rotation a current talking point as players flew in and out of the bubble during the series, Stokes reaffirmed both the need for the breaks and the players commitment to the England cause.
And he lifted the lid on just how much players put their bodies on the line in the fourth Test after illness swept through the camp.
"Players are totally committed to England and I think that was emphasised last week when a few of us went down with illness that made operating in 41 degree heat particularly taxing," Stokes said exclusively to Mirror Sport.
"I lost 5kg in a week, Dom Sibley 4kg and Jimmy Anderson 3kg among others. Jack Leach was ducking off the field in between bowling spells and spending more time than is ideal in the toilet.
"This is in no way an excuse, because everyone was ready to play, and India and Rishabh Pant especially produced a terrific performance, but I take off my hat to the effort that was put in by players who gave everything they had to try and win for England."
Stokes has told team-mates to ignore the carping from outside the England dressing room and focus on how they use the defeat to get better.
Stokes admits the 3-1 defeat to India has stung even though the home side are nigh on unbeatable on their own turf.
But he has warned the younger members of the dressing room like Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope against listening to the outside criticism that will come their way and instead take note of their coach and captain and try to work out how they can be better for the experience.
“Pundits have a job to do and that's fine,” said Stokes. “But their responsibility isn't to make us better players and a better team. That is our job and that is what we have to focus on.
“The opinions that really matter are those of your captain, your coaches and your team-mates who are trying to make the team and you as a player as good as you can be.
“For a lot of guys this was their first tour of India and it has been a steep learning curve, but that is part and parcel of being a cricketer at this level. The next test is how you react to those moments.
“I wouldn't want any player, especially a young lad like Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley or Dom Sibley, leaving this tour and thinking they are not good enough to be here. They most definitely are.
“I have been through times like this in my career and your confidence can take a knock from a tour like this, but once you assess where you need to get better you take action and work on it. “You have to use the disappointment in the best way you can to motivate you to improve.”
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