Times and fortunes. Both of them change quickly don't they?
Whereas on one hand, they changed only to turn England into ruins, they also did change to mark the start of a glorious career for Benjamin Stokes, who eventually turned out to be the only light that the English team could see in an otherwise utterly disappointing tour. A standout performer with both bat and ball was Stokes (279 runs, 15 wickets). Six months ago, the very same Durham boy was struggling to make a mark even in the shorter versions of the game.
Who would have thought that the selectors would go with him? Stokes’ fellow teammate Graham Onions was expected to be on the plane, but instead, it was the all-rounder who boarded the flight to Brisbane. To be honest, England’s horror show at The Gabba and Trott’s returning back home are the reasons why Stokes’ talent has been witnessed by the world.
What if England had won the 1st test? What if Trott hadn't have left the tour? Would Stokes have come into the side? Of course not, and his talent would have remained hidden and his confidence would have remained low.
A few things that seemed to work against England actually played the role of bringing up an all-rounder who I predict is going to win a lot of matches in the future. The kind of maturity that the left-hander has shown while batting is commendable and infers that, if furnished a bit more, he could turn out to be an excellent test batsman.
On the other hand, Stokes’ ability to bowl long spells in immense heat is reminiscent of one Freddie Flintoff, who often bowled numerous overs with sheer determination and courage when the captain needed him to. There are of course a couple of question marks which need to be addressed however.
He still needs to work harder so that he can improvise on his already good technique and learn the art of 'keeping it tight' with the ball, he hasn’t been able to do yet on a consistent basis. Also, the recent incident of him hitting the locker (and getting injured) which has eventually dashed his hopes of playing his first World Cup go to show that he still doesn’t have complete control over his emotions.
Young Ben Stokes, a name that has made its entry into Test Cricket with a bang, a player that can muscle the ball or caress it when needed, a bowler who has all qualities to lead the attack and the patience to be a workhorse at times. Will he be able to buckle down and achieve eminence?
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