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Ben Stokes & his captaincy.

When it comes to Ben Stokes and his suitability as England captain I willingly confess that I got it totally wrong.

He is the finest all rounder we have produced since Ian Botham but his early career was troubled, there was little sign of cricketing nous and – as happened with Botham and Freddie Flintoff – every possibility that results would falter, as would his personal form.

How wrong that proved as Stokes, with coach Ben McCallum, has led a revolution.

The victory over Pakistan was achieved by a generous declaration.

In the past where both sides had posted monumental first innings totals the game would have petered out to a bore draw with the spectators the losers.  Stokes’s motto could be that of the SAS “Who Dares Wins” as he went for – and achieved – a thrilling victory.

Gone too are the days when form county players are selected, discarded, reselected and discarded.

If you buy into the Stokes/McCallum philosophy your position is both assured and protected.

There were 4 centurions in the England first innings and neither Stokes nor Joe Root were among them.

He has proved not just an astute captain but a diplomatic one, donating his match fee to the charitable relief Pakistani flood fund.

All this was achieved without Jofra Archer and in Pakistan Jonny Bairstow and a scoring rate of 6.7 per over.

The man seemingly unsuited for captaincy has redefined Test cricket and possibly even saved it.

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About Douglas Heath

Douglas Heath began his lifelong love affair with cricket as an 8 year-old schoolboy playing OWZAT? Whilst listening to a 160s Ashes series on the radio. He later became half-decent at doing John Arlott impressions and is a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. He holds no truck at all with the T20 version on the game. More Posts