The Ashes 2013-14 December 19, 2013

Stokes stands out amid the rubble

England's Ashes tour has been one car cash after another but in Ben Stokes they have found a cricketer who should be with them for many years
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It has long been a sporting cliché that sides can "take the positives" from even the most humbling defeat but there have been times on this Ashes tour when it would have taken a pack of sniffer dogs, a team of forensic scientists and Miss Marple at her most snoopy to find even a crumb of comfort in England's performances.

But, amid the rubble, one man has stood out. Ben Stokes has only played one fine innings but its quality and the context in which it was made marked him out as a player of outstanding potential.

While the cream of English batting curdled under the Perth sun, Stokes showed his class and his character in scoring a second innings century of unusual excellence. In a bad tempered series, it was heartening to see the Australian team abandon hostilities between the sides to offer their congratulations when he reached the landmark.

He's not the finished article. He is still, at present, a fourth rather than third seamer and there will be times, throughout his career possibly, when he infuriates with his shot selection. His first innings dismissal at Perth, wafting at a wide one, was almost as awful as his second innings century was wonderful. But such things must be expected of a young man at the start of his journey in the international game.

He is learning fast. A year or so ago, he was a quite rapid but quite unreliable bowler. He has improved his control and learned new tricks; his ability to reverse-swing the ball will be valuable around the world and, after his first innings dismissal in Perth, he was careful not to be drawn into poking at deliveries away from his body second time around.

The only worry - and it is a worry that extends far beyond Stokes - is that he will be exhausted before he has the time to develop to his peak. As an allrounder who is good in the field, he will be flogged in every format - IPL included - in every innings, up and down the country, round and round the world, until he is broken, jaded, cynical and rich. There's nothing wrong with that last word, of course. It's just it seems to be a predominant short-term priority that takes little heed of the long-term need for rest and relief. Players like Stokes are precious; it would be a shame to see their talents squandered in meaningless limited-overs series.

Stokes spoke to the media on Thursday. While he did not say much of particular note - at one stage he said "there's no 'I' in team"; you really shouldn't expect "I have a dream" from 22-year-old sportsmen - there was something deeply impressive about the way he conducted himself. He was confident, alm and he looked every journalist in the eye as he answered their question with that steely self-confidence which will serve him well. In Joe Root and Stokes, England might just have the foundations of a team that can, one day, make amends for their side's wretched performance in this Ashes series.

Stokes' strengths may, at times, be interpreted as weaknesses. His refusal to be intimidated by Mitchell Johnson on his debut in Adelaide earned him a call to the match referee's office after the game. It was subsequently agreed that any physical contact between the pair was accidental but Stokes' feistiness was noted with admiration by the members of both dressing rooms. Here, clearly, was a guy who will not back down in a fight.

"I showed Andy Flower I wanted to play for England and get back into the fold and made sure I wanted to change his mind."

The down side of that is that Stokes has sometimes got himself into trouble. He was arrested for "obstructing police" in December 2011 and then, in February of this year, he was sent home from the Lions tour of Australia for repeatedly indulging in late-night drinking.

At the time it appeared he may have compromised his international future but, after an excellent season for Durham - he claimed 44 first-class wickets and scored 726 first-class runs - he has emerged as one of the few allrounders capable of batting in the top six and holding down a role in a five-man bowling attack. He has also settled down, had his first child and generally embraced the lifestyle choices inherent in a career in professional sport.

"Andy Flower gave me another chance," Stokes said. "I think I showed him I wanted to play for England and get back into the fold and made sure I wanted to change his mind, if he had any negative views on me. But he gave me that second chance and I'm pretty thankful for that.

"Yes, I have grown up in the last year. I took a look at the bigger picture and realised we're icons, so you've got to be doing the right things on and off the pitch.

"I'd like to be the genuine allrounder. In the last two years, my bowling has come on a hell of a lot. With my batting, the consistency hasn't been there yet but I hope, with experience, everything will come together."

There will, no doubt, be some bumps on the road, but in Stokes England have a cricketer who should be with them for many years.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lmaotsetung on December 24, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Well one thing he shares with Freddy Flintoff...they both like a night out on town. Hopefully there will be no Pedalo incident this time around :-)

  • righthandbat on December 22, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Test cricket is often not about talent. It is often about mental toughness though. England badly need more players like Stokes and Broad. Aggressive, combative, not willing to just give up. They should employ Lleyton Hewitt as their next coach. He at least knows how to keep battling no matter what the odds. England need to learn how to go down fighting - it doesn't matter if you lose, but it's how you lose.

  • on December 21, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Will be interesting to see how the two Christchurch born all rounders, Ben Stokes and Corey Anderson, develop over the next few years. They are essentially the same age and have both played just a few international games but both look like they could cement places as no 6 in their respective teams. At this stage Stokes looks like the better batsman and Anderson with the ball.

  • markatnotts on December 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Thankyou Justin Cotton for validating my point!

  • milepost on December 21, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    He looks good but he did have a streaky innings. Let's give him a bit of ime to get into it.

  • on December 21, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    That'd be right. The ex pat Kiwi is the only one playing with any ticker.

  • Cyril_Knight on December 20, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I had a brief chat with Ben Stokes last summer at The Oval after an abandoned YB40 match. Ben had been injured taking a superb diving catch and had been taken to hospital, with fears of a serious neck injury. He returned as we were leaving, but as he hobbled to the players entrance from the ambulance in the pouring rain, I caught his eye. I expected him to be a bit of a knob, after reading about his indiscretions on the Lions tour that winter. How wrong I was! What a thoroughly nice man and a bloody good cricketer. He played the next four days of the subsequent Championship match and played very well.

    What sets him apart other than his attitude is his actual ability. The boy can bowl quickly and bowl longish spells. He can also bat aggressively. His batting is far superior to Flintoff's, his bowling has the potential to be almost as effective (not equal or better). Not Ian Botham (but who is?), but if Prior and Pietersen quit, Stokes is in and not going anywhere for a long time.

  • InsideHedge on December 20, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: If you study Imran Khan's career closely, he too only spent a few years where he was at the top of his game as both a batter and bowler. For the majority of his career, he was a fast bowler who batted very low in the order, often at 8/9 and contributed little with the bat despite his batting ability.

    After his stress fracture of the shins, sometime around late 1983, he became an exclusive batsman, often at 4/5, who occasionally bowled, this continued right thru to the end of his career. The period where he batted around 6/7, made useful runs and was at the top of his bowling game is shorter than most people realise.

  • markatnotts on December 20, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @Darren Cook, well said but far too many people comment on these pages without checking the facts. Quite how someone who has lived in England since 11 can be the product of another country is beyond me. It is also funny that these comments only come up when the subject has done well! Has anyone else noticed how many anti England commentators on here have not been questioning Prior's nationality these last few months?

  • crockit on December 20, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    A few posts doing down Bresnan a bit. He did ok in Perth and must remember he took a while to get up to speed when coming back from injury last time. Englands bowling attack has not looked great but in mitigation they have spent most of the time in the field due to many of their batters playing like muppets. Anderson upped the pace to 90 at Perth but still got smacked around - he is struggling to get movement with Kookaburra especially on these pitches. What summed up the weakness of Englands strategy for me though was that they know that knew 2 of the first 3 pitches would be fast but not especially conducive to seam movement - that meant they needed either someone exceptionally quick or at least - like Rankin or Finn - quickish plus awkward due to height. Both took wickets in the warm ups but were left out in favour of a low 80s bowler (Tremlett).

    As for Stokes I hope that England dont tire him out with heavy bowling load.

  • Lmaotsetung on December 24, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Well one thing he shares with Freddy Flintoff...they both like a night out on town. Hopefully there will be no Pedalo incident this time around :-)

  • righthandbat on December 22, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Test cricket is often not about talent. It is often about mental toughness though. England badly need more players like Stokes and Broad. Aggressive, combative, not willing to just give up. They should employ Lleyton Hewitt as their next coach. He at least knows how to keep battling no matter what the odds. England need to learn how to go down fighting - it doesn't matter if you lose, but it's how you lose.

  • on December 21, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Will be interesting to see how the two Christchurch born all rounders, Ben Stokes and Corey Anderson, develop over the next few years. They are essentially the same age and have both played just a few international games but both look like they could cement places as no 6 in their respective teams. At this stage Stokes looks like the better batsman and Anderson with the ball.

  • markatnotts on December 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Thankyou Justin Cotton for validating my point!

  • milepost on December 21, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    He looks good but he did have a streaky innings. Let's give him a bit of ime to get into it.

  • on December 21, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    That'd be right. The ex pat Kiwi is the only one playing with any ticker.

  • Cyril_Knight on December 20, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I had a brief chat with Ben Stokes last summer at The Oval after an abandoned YB40 match. Ben had been injured taking a superb diving catch and had been taken to hospital, with fears of a serious neck injury. He returned as we were leaving, but as he hobbled to the players entrance from the ambulance in the pouring rain, I caught his eye. I expected him to be a bit of a knob, after reading about his indiscretions on the Lions tour that winter. How wrong I was! What a thoroughly nice man and a bloody good cricketer. He played the next four days of the subsequent Championship match and played very well.

    What sets him apart other than his attitude is his actual ability. The boy can bowl quickly and bowl longish spells. He can also bat aggressively. His batting is far superior to Flintoff's, his bowling has the potential to be almost as effective (not equal or better). Not Ian Botham (but who is?), but if Prior and Pietersen quit, Stokes is in and not going anywhere for a long time.

  • InsideHedge on December 20, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: If you study Imran Khan's career closely, he too only spent a few years where he was at the top of his game as both a batter and bowler. For the majority of his career, he was a fast bowler who batted very low in the order, often at 8/9 and contributed little with the bat despite his batting ability.

    After his stress fracture of the shins, sometime around late 1983, he became an exclusive batsman, often at 4/5, who occasionally bowled, this continued right thru to the end of his career. The period where he batted around 6/7, made useful runs and was at the top of his bowling game is shorter than most people realise.

  • markatnotts on December 20, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @Darren Cook, well said but far too many people comment on these pages without checking the facts. Quite how someone who has lived in England since 11 can be the product of another country is beyond me. It is also funny that these comments only come up when the subject has done well! Has anyone else noticed how many anti England commentators on here have not been questioning Prior's nationality these last few months?

  • crockit on December 20, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    A few posts doing down Bresnan a bit. He did ok in Perth and must remember he took a while to get up to speed when coming back from injury last time. Englands bowling attack has not looked great but in mitigation they have spent most of the time in the field due to many of their batters playing like muppets. Anderson upped the pace to 90 at Perth but still got smacked around - he is struggling to get movement with Kookaburra especially on these pitches. What summed up the weakness of Englands strategy for me though was that they know that knew 2 of the first 3 pitches would be fast but not especially conducive to seam movement - that meant they needed either someone exceptionally quick or at least - like Rankin or Finn - quickish plus awkward due to height. Both took wickets in the warm ups but were left out in favour of a low 80s bowler (Tremlett).

    As for Stokes I hope that England dont tire him out with heavy bowling load.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 20, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    @DannyBurke, I think your point about Kallis is wrong he hasnt bowled that much for a number of years, and has averaged 100-120 overs a year, at best he was an allrounder but has become more of a batsman.

    In all honesty Flintoff, really only had 3 productive years as an allrounder 2004-2006, where he took 144 wickets in 69 innings either side of this he took 82 from 68 innings, I would class Flintoff as Bowler who could bat, a little like broad, but not an All-rounder in the Lindwall, Botham, Khan mold.

  • JG2704 on December 20, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    I was very dubious re Stokes and I'm still trying not to get carried away. I still prefer Woakes. But he seems to be made of the right stuff. However as already said there is a tendency to get carried away early. He scored that ton which was an immense effort and he seems to have it about him to run in all day with the ball. But I wonder if his performances stand out more because of our other players lacking so much? I mean his bowling figures have been no better/no worse than our other bowlers but maybe that says more about our other bowlers? In fact if they were performing I wonder if his bowling figures would like quite mediocre. And batting , he is the only English batsman to score a ton and it could be said it's even more impressive considering the team's failures but it also could be more highlighting how our batsmen need a shake up

  • 11_Warrior on December 20, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    looks like a new Flintoff in making.

  • RVC-38 on December 20, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @rednwhitearmy me and the boys down the pub only took 3 tests to come up with, we own the ashes.... to the tune of .... we are the champions, simply classic!.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 20, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    I'm not wanting to take anything away from him, he scored a ton when his team needed him in testing conditions. However, I've never seen so much luck in one innings so let's give him a few more fans before blowing his trumpet. In saying that he is more than handy with the ball, probably a better bowler and batsman than Bresnan so is a good find for England (if he doesn't need the luck). @Rednwhitearmy..... Yeah Barmy Army whatever.....

  • SoyQuearns on December 20, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - they have to keep themselves amused somehow, they are getting no value from the rest of them!

  • landl47 on December 20, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Stokes is 22 and has played 2 test matches. He's promising, but let's not go overboard. If he can be a good 4th seamer and average over 35 in tests he'll be extremely valuable.

    If he's better than that, then he'll be a top player.

    If it turns out that he averages in the 20s and can only be called on as an occasional bowler, he'll be a bits and pieces player.

    We'll have to wait and see which it is.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 20, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Brilliant how its taken the barmy army 1 test to come up with a song for Stokes. "Stokesy stokesy stokesy" to the tune of "the hokey pokey". Brilliant again from the army.

  • Kolpak1989 on December 20, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    Finn has to come into the England team. Saker and co have done their best to ruin him by making him focus more on the stumps at the bowler's end than the stumps at the batsman's end, but he is the most talented young bowler that England have and, besides Anderson and Broad, their only genuine wicket-taking bowler. They need to get him in there pronto. Stokes will do for a fourth seamer. Bresnan is a good holding bowler, but doesn't have enough penetration to take important wickets at regular intervals.

  • kepler22b on December 20, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    '...he was careful not to be drawn into poking at deliveries away from his body second time around.'

    I think it was about 15 times in the second innings but fortune favoured the brave. The ball is likely to seam in Melbourne and will be a real test for him. Slashing doesn't tend to work well at the G.

    Time will tell but I would take more solace from Carberry, Root and Broad if I was English.

  • on December 20, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    @Mervo, how does living in England from the age of 11, playing all his school cricket in England as well as for England U19's make it mean "All of New Zealand will be proud of him. Where he was born, grew up and developed his cricket"

  • dunger.bob on December 19, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    He's a good lad young Stokesy. He's got a bit of spirit about him. I like the look of his bowling. He's the quickest of England's bowlers and has pretty good control already. Give him a few years at this level and he should learn a trick or two and be a very reliable bowler who can keep the pressure going. .. I didn't actually see any of his innings (damned work) so I'm not going to comment on his batting other than he's the first Pom to get to 100 so that's got to tell us something.

    @DJAbacus: I see you don't like the word 'rubble'. How about 'rabble' then? That's what they are old mate. A complete and utter rabble. Directionless, leaderless and not a clue where they're going or what they're doing. Being an Aussie I'll exercise my right not be caught up in too much respect for what England have managed to achieve over the last 5 years. .. To me you'll always just be the Pom's, a team to be taken down, torn apart and sent home crying. .. As it should be.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 19, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    The jury is still out for Stokes for mine. I wouldn't be surprised if his career flopped at this point, but he does have a bit of mongrel about him.

    Funny how the English players didn't shake Warner's, or Smith's or Watson's hands when they got hundreds, yet the Aussies shook Stokes'. That goes to show who the real sore winners/losers are.

  • SoyQuearns on December 19, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    Has got huge potential, there's no doubt about it, but I hope they manage him well.

    Watching him stare back at Johnson in his first test impressed me, his hundred in the Perth test showed that he could 'walk the walk' as well as stand his ground.

    Handy bowler also. That has come on a lot in the last 2 seasons and will continue to improve now that he's under the spotlight more.

    England would do well not to place too much pressure onto him, certainly the pressure that is borne of this dreadful tour.

  • ShutTheGate on December 19, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    @ Mervo he moved to the UK when he was 12. I hardly believe that he developed most of his cricket ability in primary school.

  • Dilip1979 on December 19, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    After Joe Root's 180 at Lords, this was written by the same author " But this century, the youngest by an English batsman in an Ashes Test at Lord's, cemented Root's position at the top of the order for the next decade or more" - http://www.espncricinfo.com/the-ashes-2013/content/story/653665.html

    That turned out rather well..If not for Jonathan Trott's unfortunate issue, Root was pretty much stuck at #6 for the foreseeable future..

    So good luck Ben Stokes..after all " There will, no doubt, be some bumps on the road, but in Stokes England have a cricketer who should be with them for many years " - you've been well and properly jinxed.

  • kensohatter on December 19, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Stokes showed real fight in Perth and adds more variety to a side needing flexibility in their attack. Playing Stokes and Broad allows for the extra bowler which is important with Anderson and Swann struggling in Australian conditions. England need to fly Onions in simple as that. They made a mistake selecting 3 tall fast bowlers and they need to rectify it now. I hear hes in south africa ready to go! Gotta pick Bairstow as well surely his keeping will not be worse than what Prior displayed. Compton should have been selected as well. Ideal english side for melb 1. Cook, 2. Compton, 3. Root, 4. KP, 5. Bell, 6. Bairstow, 7. Stokes, 8. Broad, 9. Swann, 10. Rankin, 11. Onions. Swann gets a chance now on turning pitches of melb and sydney if he cant produce there hes gotta go. I also think Anderson is shot... he is getting no movement at all and the australians will now target him. Time to change it up

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 19, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Obviously one has to hope he does not get ruined too fast by the opportunity seekers and money men. He will be very hot property I suspect. His county captain though is a good man who will help him enormously to keep his feet on the ground. We see his potential which is obviously considerable and need to let him develope naturally.I agree with not bigging him up,but so far so good. We have Woakes around too whch is a happy thought.

  • DJAbacus on December 19, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    England have many good players. Sorry Mr Dobson but calling them a 'rubble' is very disrespectful to a group of players who have performed so well at Test level in the last 8 years. For one reason or another they haven't performed in this series. They may or may not perform in next two tests. We shall see. Anyway, Ben Stokes does appear to be a genuine all rounder. None of this Wicket Keeper all rounder. None of this bats a bit bowls a bit bats a bit all rounder. A genuine all rounder who is a front line batsmen and bowler. It's very exciting. Another Botham? Another Flintoff? We shall see.

  • Mervo on December 19, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    All of New Zealand will be proud of him. Where he was born, grew up and developed his cricket. They could sure use him now. I wouldn't get carried away about him yet. He looked pretty ordinary earlier and his bowling was better than his batting. A single breezy, at times streaky, knock in Perth, is not always the sign of a world beater. Give the kid a chance.

  • Pacelover on December 19, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I think Stokes should be able to get at least to Shane Watsons level in test cricket. Watson only averages 30 with the bat and I reckon Stokes can top that and Watto only has 67 test wickets from 49 tests and that is hardly unbeatable.

    He will have tougher times with the bat i'm sure (when Bairstow replaces Prior he will likely be number 7) and his bowling isn't really at the level required yet but he seems more promising than most young all rounders in the game.

  • DannyBurke on December 19, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. You have a point about the hype, I agree we cant place too much on Stokes just yet.

    Your point about more than 2-3 wickets a game is a bit of a laugh though. Lets use your example of Collingwood, he was batsman who turned his arm over in tests 17 wickets in 68 test (.25 wickets a test) so fair shout on him but by your criteria Flintoff wasnt a genuine allrounder. 226 wickets in 79 tests (2.86 wickets a test). Neither was (is) Kallis 228 wickets in 164 tests (1.39 wickets a test).

    Some of the greats cant even manage 4! Sobers - 2.52, Khan - 4.11, Botham - 3.75.

    If we can get Stokes taking 3 wickets a game as a genuine AR, I would take it!

  • CodandChips on December 19, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Another good article on a youngster.

    Hopefully if he works on his bowling it doesn't affect his batting badly. Look at Woakes. He improved his batting nicely but his bowling has gone backwards. I still see him as too much of a bits and pieces player but hopefully he can prove me wrong. Flintoff was a bits and pieces players don't forget.

    I think we've got a few decent young batsmen. Apart from the obvious Moeen Ali (although 26), Taylor and Ballance, we also have Vince, Robson and possibly Woakes or Borthwick. Get a couple in I say, rather than sticking with a batting line up that's been in steady decline for the last year.

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 19, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Still looks very scratchy to me and the hype around one innings is getting a bit much, like the hype around Joe Root who still to me should no way be batting 3 or opening.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Why is so much hype being put on Stokes shoulders, after 2 Innings, as for the all rounder tag, I'm sorry but to qualify as a genuine all rounder hes going to have to pick up more than 2-3 wickets a game, when he starts taking 5'fers hes just another batsman who can turn his arm over, like colly.

    Please do not misunderstand I hope he does well but please lets stop with the platitudes and bigging up of a player whos right at the start of his career.

  • Nutcutlet on December 19, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Stokes has staked his claim to play in England's best XI for the foreseeable. Root too. These are players that were nowhere three years ago. If any encouragement were needed as England prepare for Boxing Day & the New Year's Tests, this is the time to see what Ballance & Rankin have to offer. The old order is changing, but England doesn't care for change so there's a mindset to overcome in all of this. The clinching argument has to be: if they were thought good enough to tour, then they must be good enough to play. It's time to give the eager & unscarred players a chance to show whether they have the stomach for the battle. So many of the rest look thoroughly beaten up, no matter what hunger the captain sees in their eyes.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 19, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    1 Cook 2 Root 3 Bell 4 KP 5 Ballance 6 Stokes 7 Bairstow 8 Bresnan 9 Broad/Rankin 10 Swann 11 Anderson

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 19, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    1 Cook 2 Root 3 Bell 4 KP 5 Ballance 6 Stokes 7 Bairstow 8 Bresnan 9 Broad/Rankin 10 Swann 11 Anderson

  • Nutcutlet on December 19, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Stokes has staked his claim to play in England's best XI for the foreseeable. Root too. These are players that were nowhere three years ago. If any encouragement were needed as England prepare for Boxing Day & the New Year's Tests, this is the time to see what Ballance & Rankin have to offer. The old order is changing, but England doesn't care for change so there's a mindset to overcome in all of this. The clinching argument has to be: if they were thought good enough to tour, then they must be good enough to play. It's time to give the eager & unscarred players a chance to show whether they have the stomach for the battle. So many of the rest look thoroughly beaten up, no matter what hunger the captain sees in their eyes.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    Why is so much hype being put on Stokes shoulders, after 2 Innings, as for the all rounder tag, I'm sorry but to qualify as a genuine all rounder hes going to have to pick up more than 2-3 wickets a game, when he starts taking 5'fers hes just another batsman who can turn his arm over, like colly.

    Please do not misunderstand I hope he does well but please lets stop with the platitudes and bigging up of a player whos right at the start of his career.

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 19, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Still looks very scratchy to me and the hype around one innings is getting a bit much, like the hype around Joe Root who still to me should no way be batting 3 or opening.

  • CodandChips on December 19, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Another good article on a youngster.

    Hopefully if he works on his bowling it doesn't affect his batting badly. Look at Woakes. He improved his batting nicely but his bowling has gone backwards. I still see him as too much of a bits and pieces player but hopefully he can prove me wrong. Flintoff was a bits and pieces players don't forget.

    I think we've got a few decent young batsmen. Apart from the obvious Moeen Ali (although 26), Taylor and Ballance, we also have Vince, Robson and possibly Woakes or Borthwick. Get a couple in I say, rather than sticking with a batting line up that's been in steady decline for the last year.

  • DannyBurke on December 19, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. You have a point about the hype, I agree we cant place too much on Stokes just yet.

    Your point about more than 2-3 wickets a game is a bit of a laugh though. Lets use your example of Collingwood, he was batsman who turned his arm over in tests 17 wickets in 68 test (.25 wickets a test) so fair shout on him but by your criteria Flintoff wasnt a genuine allrounder. 226 wickets in 79 tests (2.86 wickets a test). Neither was (is) Kallis 228 wickets in 164 tests (1.39 wickets a test).

    Some of the greats cant even manage 4! Sobers - 2.52, Khan - 4.11, Botham - 3.75.

    If we can get Stokes taking 3 wickets a game as a genuine AR, I would take it!

  • Pacelover on December 19, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I think Stokes should be able to get at least to Shane Watsons level in test cricket. Watson only averages 30 with the bat and I reckon Stokes can top that and Watto only has 67 test wickets from 49 tests and that is hardly unbeatable.

    He will have tougher times with the bat i'm sure (when Bairstow replaces Prior he will likely be number 7) and his bowling isn't really at the level required yet but he seems more promising than most young all rounders in the game.

  • Mervo on December 19, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    All of New Zealand will be proud of him. Where he was born, grew up and developed his cricket. They could sure use him now. I wouldn't get carried away about him yet. He looked pretty ordinary earlier and his bowling was better than his batting. A single breezy, at times streaky, knock in Perth, is not always the sign of a world beater. Give the kid a chance.

  • DJAbacus on December 19, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    England have many good players. Sorry Mr Dobson but calling them a 'rubble' is very disrespectful to a group of players who have performed so well at Test level in the last 8 years. For one reason or another they haven't performed in this series. They may or may not perform in next two tests. We shall see. Anyway, Ben Stokes does appear to be a genuine all rounder. None of this Wicket Keeper all rounder. None of this bats a bit bowls a bit bats a bit all rounder. A genuine all rounder who is a front line batsmen and bowler. It's very exciting. Another Botham? Another Flintoff? We shall see.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 19, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Obviously one has to hope he does not get ruined too fast by the opportunity seekers and money men. He will be very hot property I suspect. His county captain though is a good man who will help him enormously to keep his feet on the ground. We see his potential which is obviously considerable and need to let him develope naturally.I agree with not bigging him up,but so far so good. We have Woakes around too whch is a happy thought.