Ben Stokes’ invaluable contribution with bat and ball at the home of cricket last weekend has aided his aspirations of playing at next year’s World Cup.
The all-rounder took two wickets and scored an unbeaten 38 as Durham defeated Warwickshire by three wickets to lift the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord’s last Saturday.
A great overall performance – in the 50-over format as well – have helped exhibit his credentials for a spot on the plane down under next spring.
The 23-year-old put in a mature performance to hold his nerve and help his side over the line on the grandest cricketing stage of them all. He offered good support to Paul Collingwood when he arrived at the crease, before taking centre stage when Gareth Breese joined him in the middle.
It may have been the veteran spinner – on his final appearance before retirement – who knocked off the winning runs, but Stokes was undoubtedly integral to helping Durham become the inaugural Royal London Cup holders.
Stokes fell down the England pecking order in the Test format this summer, but he still found himself in the side for three of the side’s 50-over matches against India in August and September.
A quick-fire 33 not out from 23 balls in the final game of the series at Headingley helped Alastair Cook’s side to a consolatory 41-run win. But that wasn’t his only contribution to the team, later in the day he took three wickets and was involved in running out Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With so much to offer the side, it is likely that he will at least be in the squad that travels to the 2015 World Cup. But there is every chance that he will be a protagonist for England with both bat and ball.
Since the retirement of Andrew Flintoff the Three Lions have struggled and strived to discover an all-rounder with such devastating abilities and the capability of winning a match single-handedly.
Stokes showed in last winter’s abysmal Ashes tour that he can stand up and be counted when the going gets tough – exactly the sort of attitude that the entire England team need to adopt.
While his international career took a bit of a wobble when he was dropped after the Second Test against India at Lord’s this summer, his latest performance at the home of cricket has suggested that the youngster is a star in the making in limited-overs formats at the very least.
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