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Ben Stokes could have lifted the mood if not save incompetent England

Stokes would not have stopped the mighty Aussies, but then he could have lifted England up.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes of England. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

Ben Stokes’ absence for England in the ongoing Ashes 2017-18 series is something the visitors wouldn’t have liked after being 3-0 down in the five-match series against Australia. Many sections across the cricket fraternity feel Stokes’ presence could have put some brakes in Australia’s march to glory to an extent.

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 gone on to win the series like they have done, Stokes’ presence could have lessened the damage England suffered. A one-man show often cannot win a Test match for an inept side, but the team’s look could have been strengthened, to say the least.

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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 26.

ODI inclusion

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 International 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 holds a great value as a contributor in 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. He 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, he 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.

Recent form

He 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 would not have stopped the mighty Aussies, but then he could have lifted England up.

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