Ashes 2017-18: Ben Stokes Could Have Provided A Spark If Not Save Inept England’s Cause


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Many sections of fans and pundits across the cricket fraternity believe that if England all-rounder Ben Stokes would have been available for the ongoing Ashes series, the visiting side would have had an outside chance to apply a brake in Australia’s dominance.
To echo the same, yes England would have been in better shape to handle Australia given the ammunition Stokes brings in to the side. But as the Aussies would have still most likely go on to win the series like they have done, Stoke’s presence could have lessened the damage England suffered. An one-man show often cannot win a Test match for an inept side, but the team’s look could have been strengthened to say at the least.
Putting all this aside, Stokes is getting back to shape and form after playing limited-overs cricket in New Zealand’s domestic competitions. The star player was left out of England’s 2017-18 Ashes squad, following an incident outside a nightclub in Bristol in the early hours of September 25. The England management omitted him for the street brawl and the file regarding this case has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Stokes will rightly feel hurt after not being a part of England’s touring party. Although the domestic outings in the Kiwi land sees him being provisionally named in the One-Day squad for the series to follow against Australia post the Ashes. With England down 3-0 already in the 5-match series, all eyes will be on the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with the hosts tipped as sure favourites.
The England all-rounder was a revelation for his side against the West Indies in the last Test series at home after owning the field with an excellent brand of overall display. Stokes is of great value lower down the middle order and often takes the opposition to the mats with some consistent batting displays. Three centuries in the last 3 Test series against India, South Africa and the Windies highlights his prowess as a no-nonsense batsman.
England have missed solidity in the middle order especially missing someone to come and swing the pendulum in their favour with a flurry of an innings. The last Test match highlighted England’s agony of missing Stokes after they were bundled out for 403 despite finishing Day 1 at 305/4. Stokes revels in such situations and this side is a lot dependent on the larger picture their talisman provides.
Bowling wise too, there is no better all-rounder at the moment in world cricket than Stokes. With 95 wickets in 39 Tests, Stokes has often produced match winning moments by cashing in on moments with the ball. He would have loved to have a go at the Aussies and produce some sparks that lacked on most occasions. But with bygones being bygones, Stokes is slowly getting his feet ready to feature for his national side soon.
Canterbury coach Gary Stead is confident England’s best player is now near his peak again, after a sketchy start for the side in the ongoing domestic campaign in New Zealand. According to The Evening Standard, Stead said this week that in the five games Stokes has played, he’s getting better and better. “He’s had five matches for us now and it looks like he’s getting better and better.”
He then also went to add that the Englishman is going full tilt and not holding back at all. “He’s batting at No4, which is a little bit higher than he normally would, but we can grow his experiences and that’s good for him in the long run. Batting, bowling, fielding — and even at training — he’s going full tilt. He’s not holding back at all,: Stead said. This in turn will light up the English fans’ hopes as they await Stoke’s return eagerly.
Stokes recently scored 93 for his side in a T20 match against Otago and hasn’t been at his best in the rest of the games. Meanwhile, England players have refused to use Stokes’ absence from the side as a reason for their problems on the field Down Under. Australia have been on a different level altogether with their pacers accounting for 45 wickets in the 3 Tests. Steve Smith has been excellent with the bat as Nathan Lyon’s stature has grown high to even adjudge him as the best spinner in the present day Test cricket.
Stokes might not have stopped the mighty Aussies, but then he could have lifted up England’s morale.


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