After winning yet another man of the match award, is Ben Stokes the best cricketer in the world right now?
Few would doubt that statement after his performance in the last test inspired England to victory.
If you were to select a team to play in any format, then Stokes would be your No 1 pick.
Head and shoulders above anybody else
What makes him so different over anybody else playing the game now is he is a true leader. He was even given the captaincy in the opening test with Joe Root unavailable.
Stokes always delivers in training with the ball and bat and in the field and in the dressing room. When he talks others listen. What he does in training he repeats on the pitch and has that special quality called the X factor.
However, you have to always make sure his body does not snap in half. He has a lot of niggles and goes off so many times you worry about his body.
But the difference between Stokes and other crop of great players at the present time is his composure. He has that rare talent of knowing how to play each situation.
The man is so versatile
Take the recent test match at Old Trafford. He managed his slowest test hundred in the first innings off 255 balls. Circumstances needed him to revert to a different gear, which he did. But in the second innings when quick runs was needed he smashed a 50 in only 36 balls.
Few genuine all rounders in cricket currently would be able to repeat that. Stokes is box office attraction, so sad that few people can witness his amazing feats currently.
Remarkable talent has been blossoming for the past few seasons
English cricket is witnessing a player who has developed his game in the past few years. Since 2019 he is averaging 62.45 with the bat alongside 31 wickets taken at almost 30 apiece.
He has now over 150 test wickets in total and is currently the No 1 all rounder in the world. In his last 13 tests he has scored over 1,200 runs at an average of almost 60. With the ball he has picked up 29 wickets in his last nine tests at an average of a shy over 30.
It is not just his batting and bowling that makes terrific reading. In the field he has picked up 19 catches in the past calendar year. He stands at No 3 in the batting rankings with only Steve Smith and Virat Kohli ahead of him.
Two best ever innings by the master craftsman
People will always remember Stokes for his Headingley heroics last year and the World Cup final triumph.
He made one of the greatest innings of all time to win the third Test at Headingley in last year’s Ashes.
With only one wicket left England needed 73 to win. Impossible was the word from all quarters. But Stokes kept his cool and finished 135 not out and complete England’s highest chase in Test history.
A month earlier he was England’s hero once again in the Cricket World Cup. England needed 15 from the last over and he delivered to take the match in to a super over.
Joe Root said after the recent test victory over the West Indies. “He’s Mr Incredible. I suppose.” Perfectly summed up Joe. Whatever is thrown at him he faces it as a challenge that will be conquered.
If you look at every England win over the past 18 months, Stokes has been pivotal in most of them.
He had a huge challenge back in 2018 when he was found not guilty of affray after a fight near a Bristol nightclub. Stokes, as he always does bounced back from this and has never looked back since.
Enjoy the privilege of watching this truly great cricketer who has match winning ability every time he performs. We are blessed to watch his talents and injury permitting we will continue to do so for a long time.