Eng­land look to ac­tion man Stokes

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LONDON: Ben Stokes would be the first to say Eng­land are more than a one-man team but if any­one sums up their re­vival in lim­ited overs cricket it is the dy­namic Durham all-rounder.

Just over two years since a de­feat by Bangladesh in Ade­laide sealed their em­bar­rass­ing firstround exit from the 2015 World Cup, Eng­land face the Tigers in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy opener at The Oval on Thurs­day with gen­uine op­ti­mism they can at last win a first ma­jor one-day in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment.

Part of the rea­son for that is Stokes.

The son of a for­mer New Zealand rugby league in­ter­na­tional, he also had cricket in his genes thanks to his mother, Deb­o­rah, a noted player.

For all the 25-year-old’s power stroke­play — as ex­em­pli­fied in his blis­ter­ing 79-ball 101 fea­tur­ing 11 fours and three sixes dur­ing Eng­land’s two-run win in the sec­ond one-day in­ter­na­tional against South Africa at Southamp­ton on Satur­day — Stokes’s bat­ting is based on a sound straight drive.

His ag­gres­sive ap­proach is one that has served him well in all for­mats, as he showed with a blis­ter­ing Test-match 258 from 198 balls against South Africa at Cape Town last year.

On his day, and in the right con­di­tions, he can also be an ef­fec­tive right-arm swing bowler.

Proof of the grow­ing re­gard in which Stokes, also a fine close catcher, is held came when he was paid a record US$2.16 mil­lion (RM9.22 mil­lion) to play in this year’s In­dian Premier League.

Stokes’s left knee, which was op­er­ated on last year, how­ever, is pre­vent­ing him from do­ing much bowl­ing at the mo­ment.

Stokes tried to play down con­cerns by say­ing Satur­day: “It’s just the bowl­ing that’s get­ting af­fected by my knee.

“Bat­ting, field­ing and run­ning around isn’t an is­sue.”

Eng­land will set­tle for that.

All-rounder Ben Stokes has been in­stru­men­tal in the re­vival of Eng­land in lim­ited overs cricket.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.