Champions Trophy 2017 June 11, 2017

IPL increases exposure to big moments of play - Stokes

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What stood out about Ben Stokes' century against Australia was that he took his time to build an innings secure in his knowledge that he had the power and range of shots to make up time later in the chase © Getty Images

Experience of playing in the IPL helped Ben Stokes compile the "best innings" of his ODI career to date, against Australia at Edgbaston.

Stokes plundered an unbeaten century - a career-best 102 - as England overcame a sticky start to their run-chase to secure victory and sentence Australia to an early departure from the Champions Trophy.

Stokes had only once previously made fifty - an innings of 69 when England defeated Pakistan at Leeds in 2016 - when batting second in an ODI. And so powerful and clean was Stokes' hitting against Australia, it earned praise from Virat Kohli on Twitter.

Afterwards, as well as crediting the big-match exposure of the IPL, Stokes also suggested the insight of working alongside other top players at the tournament had contributed to his improvement.

"I think that was my best innings in terms of chasing," Stokes said. "I don't think my record is too flash in terms of chasing for England in ODI cricket. It's also nice on a personal level to be there at the end of a chase.

"The whole thing with the IPL is the exposure you get to big moments in games playing in front of a huge crowd all the time. You get exposed to those situations more.

"At Edgbaston we were 35 for 3 but you can just mentally look back to a time in the past and reflect on that and also take confidence in knowing that you have been in that situation before and done well.

"You play against the best players in the world, whether batsmen or bowlers. Knowing that you have done well coming into a tournament like this it gives you confidence that you can do well against some of the world's best batsmen and bowlers."

Stokes enjoyed a successful first season in the IPL. Going into the tournament under some pressure as the most expensive pick in the auction - he was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for £1.7m - he finished with a maiden T20 century (against Gujarat Lions), 12 wickets and some outstanding displays of fielding to earn the Most Valuable Player award. And, among the top players he rubbed shoulders with while he was there was Australia captain, Steven Smith, who suggested a minor technical change.

"He just gave a little tip out in India, something on my technique, something that he felt could help me with," Stokes said. "Just that I was losing my backside a bit when I was hitting.

"I am always trying to get better as a player, no matter how things are going. I'm always trying to expand my game and look into how I can hit more areas or bowl different balls or whatever it is. I'm always looking to learn and am never happy with how I am going. I think once you get comfortable with what you are offering it is dangerous territory to be in."

The most noticeable aspect of Stokes' batting on Saturday was his composure. Whereas, in the past, he might have become flustered by the match situation or the number of dot balls he faced against a decent Australia attack, on this occasion he gave himself the time to build an innings secure in the knowledge that he had the power and range of strokes to make up time.

"I didn't put any pressure on myself," Stokes said. "I knew I could catch up. Obviously having someone like Eoin Morgan at the other end, playing like he is does, takes the pressure off. He is always looking to be positive and I think we are boundary-hitters, so we know that if we have a few dot balls it is not going to faze us too much.

"We are always going to try to take the positive route regardless of the start that we get, play every good ball on its merit but at the same time we know we have got to be aggressive and on the front foot because that is what has made us such a dangerous team. Being 35 for 3 doesn't mean there is any real reason for us to change that."

Despite the praise for England's batting, Stokes was keen to credit the bowlers for their part in England's success. He praised Mark Wood and Adil Rashid, in particular, with both men bagging four-wicket hauls as England again found a way to claim wickets in the middle-over period during which other attacks have struggled to make much of an impression. He also confirmed that his knee, a source of concern going into the tournament, was giving him no trouble.

"There will probably be quite a lot of write-ups about how we chased," he said. "But the fact that the bowlers managed to restrict Australia to under 300 - when at one stage it looked as if they might score 340 - was credit to how we bowled, for Woody and Rash to get four wickets each on that wicket with that boundary."

"My bowling is obviously not back to where I want it to be but I am trying and training to get it back to where I want it to be. My knee is good. The confidence is there now knowing that I am not going to have to worry about it."

England, the only unbeaten side in the competition, took Sunday off and will resume training on Monday in Cardiff. Their semi-final takes place there on Wednesday.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muzammil Khan on June 17, 2017, 13:53 GMT

    64 balls without a boundary... @IPL INCREASES EXPOSURE TO BIG MOMENTS TO PLAY ... a big LOLX

  • malhar1424912 on June 15, 2017, 8:19 GMT

    Anshus - yet another living evidence of hardwork paying for Pakistan and england suffering from ipl . this is what happens when you walk on Morgans path of leagues.

  • pramathesh on June 15, 2017, 2:30 GMT

    Eng did the right thing by taking the Edgbaston odi vs Aus seriously to win it but Eng must not get carried away by that win. Ashes of this year will be held in Aus. Suspect that for Aus team, the important tournaments are Ashes, WC & test matches vs other nations. Aus team will play to its full potential in these important events only. In other tournaments such as CT 2017 series, they will just participate, enjoy the summer weather of Eng, earn easy GBP's but make Eng team feel relaxed before it arrives to play next Ashes in Aus. In the Ashes they will show their real power to Eng.

  • Jayaesh on June 14, 2017, 16:31 GMT

    Dear @ AVICHALL since you are unwilling to understand my moot point it is futile trying to convince you otherwise , i can name not 5 but 25 cricketers to come out of these leagues who did well on International stage but i don't have the time , what you got to realize there is no thing such as a 100% league product as almost all the uncapped cricketers that have been picked by a league is on the basis of his performance in his Nation's domestic F/C Comp , if ICC grants the IPL,BBL franchises the right to develop and manage Cricket administration instead of WICB in West Indies then i am 100 % sure they will do a far better job of producing better Windies players who shine at International stage .

  • pramathesh on June 14, 2017, 10:03 GMT

    It is equally disgusting to find that no Indian player has played in even a single game of BBL & Ramslam but Dale Steyn & Steve Smith have played in 9 & 6 seasons of IPL respectively. Steve Smith was highest run scorer in BG 2017 trophy held in India where he even scored more than Indian batters. India has become home for him. Aus team for that series had selection of 5 members with experience of IPL. In that series, Steve Smith & Glen Maxwell admitted to Indian press that playing in IPL is useful to Aus for playing tests in India even if the formats differ. BBL is held in Dec-Jan when Indians cannot participate due to domestic season. This is how Aus manages to keep its home advantage intact vs touring Indians. 1 Aus$=48INR makes Indians migrate to Aus so Aus players will remain richer even without playing in IPL. IPL organisers must sack or reject players from Aus & SA until Indians start playing in BBL & Ramslam every year.

  • pramathesh on June 14, 2017, 9:38 GMT

    Ben Stokes is actual wearer of the shoe & he knows where the shoe pinches. If he feels that IPL experience is useful in games outside India then it is. He & full Eng team know very well that in CT 2017 or any game played in Eng, Eng deserve to get full home advantage & to counter that, players from Aus, SA & other nations play in Eng county. It feels good to read that Pujara is playing in Eng county & Stokes is playing in IPL. It is disgusting to read that Nathan Lyon & Peter Handscomb are playing in Eng county currently but not even one player of current Eng team will be playing in coming Sheffield Shield. Eng team must ensure that its members also play in Sheffield Shield & Sunfoil series each year else Eng county must ban players from SA & Aus from playing in them.

  • malhar1424912 on June 14, 2017, 8:32 GMT

    Anshus can you name me 5 good players coming out of leagues who have really made there mark in international cricket.

  • malhar1424912 on June 14, 2017, 8:14 GMT

    Anshus yes I do get your point . but league cricket is most harmful to new young emerging players. As we can see currently four teams playing leagues most ,none of them have any good emerging players. Australia at best has maxwell and henriques Africa has behradien pheluwayko and India has lots of bits and pieces Samson nair pant uthappa jadhav pandya etc none of them have showed any promise. It all denies what your saying ,leagues haven't proved to be the right platform. And players coming out of leagues fail to match international standards. But good international players go to serve there skills to leagues and in that process there game too is declining. Some go through injuries as it was with woakes this time,some don't get time to rest. But fact can't be denied league cricket will surely takeover and players will all join leagues for luxury and comforts there is no hardworking reqd like it is for 5 days in test matches.

  • Jayaesh on June 14, 2017, 6:28 GMT

    @AVICHALL : It appears that you only seem to care about 14 or 15 players who play for there National teams , likes of you don't give a jot about hundreds of domestic Cricketers out there, you only think of domestic/ F/C teams as being mere feeders to the National team . I have seen /known /heard of many former Cricketers in the past who never got to play for there National team , they lived a life of absolute poverty and anonymity and were in there old age bitter and regretted taking Cricket as a career , how i wish these Leagues were present during there playing days . Despite your romantic notions of pride n honor in the end it is also about money .

  • sivajv7396883 on June 14, 2017, 5:17 GMT

    IPL only gives players a chance to get exposed to world class matches. If you are success then you are ready to go for any battle.

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