Jacques Kallis feels England are heavily dented with no Stokes on board

The first Test of the Ashes 2017-18 starts at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 23.

Ben Stokes of England
Ben Stokes. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Former South African cricketer Jacques Kallis feels that the English side will miss the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes big time in the upcoming Ashes. England have already arrived in Australia for the coveted series sans their prime all-rounder. Ben Stokes was involved in an alleged pub brawl in Bristol last month that saw his trip to the Ashes clipped off.

While the English team players have been stressing on the fact that they are still competent enough, the loss can surely not be matched. Jacques Kallis, who himself was a premier all-rounder during his playing days, told Omnisport that the loss of an all-rounder is always a big one. Also, it will be very hard to replace someone like Ben Stokes in the series.

“It’ll be a massive loss, he’s two players in one. All-rounders are so valuable. And he’s a world-class all-rounder. I’ve really been impressed how he’s come on as a player. England need him. Hopefully they can sort it out but I think they’ve gone about it the right way,” quoted Jacques Kallis.

“It’s difficult to replace an all-rounder… England have to make sure their fast bowlers do the work for them. It’s going to be a tough, interesting series. We’re all looking forward to it. It’ll fun to watch I think,” he added.

Tough to beat Australia

When asked to pick the favorites for the Ashes this year, Jacques Kallis put his weight on the hosts, Australia. He rightly mentioned that the England team is bound to struggle against the Kookabura ball. Also, the fact that Australia are a powerhouse in their home conditions is not going to help the cause of the visitors either.

He did not mention that it will be an outright series whitewash win for the Aussies, but did not rule that proposition out either. He feels that Australia will just ‘pip’ the English side. Defending his prediction, Kallis added that anything can happen in the game.

“Tough place to tour, Australia. It really is a tough place. England are going to have to play some good cricket to beat them. They really are going to have to. It’s a different ball, the Kookaburra is different to the Duke. That, for a start, is a big difference. Australia at home – tough to beat. I’m 50.1 per cent and 49.9 per cent favouring Australia but it can go any way. It’s going to be who plays those important days better. But I think [it will be] pretty evenly matched,” mentioned the former cricketer.

“I can’t see that happening. I think it’s going to be close. I think both sides will play positive cricket, most of the Test matches we’ll get a result. I’m going to throw my neck out there and say maybe Australia, they’ll just pip them. But I’m not saying that’s going to be 100 per cent correct,” he concluded.