Australians know all about the game-changing qualities that Ben Stokes possesses (Headingley 2019 is still a raw memory), but the late inclusion of the destructive off-roader in England’s Ashes team has been well received on the other side of the world.
Stokes confirmed on Monday what had been suspected for a couple of weeks: he recovered from a finger injury and, after a break from the game in which he also prioritized his mental health, he declared himself “ready for Australia.”
Those three words should be enough to strike fear into Australian hearts with the Ashes urn in play since December 8, when the first Test begins in Brisbane.
But Stokes’s addition has been celebrated by a number of former Australian test players, who see his inclusion not only as a huge boost to England’s opportunities and a more competitive series, but also as a boon in entertainment betting.
“This is great news for the Ashes and will give Root and his England team a huge boost as Stokes has the rare ability to inspire his teammates on the field in the heat of battle,” Shane tweeted Warne. “Hopefully all the fields are full and we enjoy the Ashes contest.”
Former test goalkeeper Brad Haddin was excited about what Stokes could bring to the series, given his quality with both the bat and the ball, and his status as a pantomime villain among Australian fans.
“And now the theater begins,” Haddin said on Fox Cricket on Monday night. “This is what you want, you want the best players to play in the Ashes series.
“The only thing Ben Stokes does, not only with his presence on the field with the bat and the ball, but he makes the guys around him better players. That’s what excites me. This England team will now grow a leg. “
With Stokes on the plane to Australia, the dynamics of the series have changed: without him, along with the absence of Joffra Archer, fears had been raised that England might have a difficult time staying competitive on Australian soil; With him now on tour, his chances of success have increased dramatically.
“Any team with that quality off-roader will have a much better chance of beating Australia,” former Australian fast Brett Lee told World Cup Live. “He’s a genuine fast bowler… Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson are the two front-line bowlers. Now Ben Stokes can throw in some decent gas too, so that’s great. “
Stokes was initially left out of the England team announced earlier this month after he announced he would be taking an indefinite break from the game, but head coach Chris Silverwood left the door open for him.
He hasn’t played competitive cricket since July and lack of fitness may prevent him from playing the entire series, but his return to the team was “huge”, according to former England captain Michael Vaughan.
“Fundamentally, he is also a player who is afraid of Australia,” Vaughan wrote in his Telegraph column. “The scars he inflicted on them at Headingley two years ago will not have fully healed, and seeing him walking around in Brisbane, or wherever he manages to play his first tryout, will send some chills down the road.”
Stokes is one of the few players in England’s squad to have had success with the bat on Australian soil (he scored a century in Perth in 2013) and three of his seven highest test scores were against Australia, including his famous undefeated 135 who pierced Australian hearts with a dagger during the third round of the 2019 series in Leeds.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism