Young, talented and full of potential, Ben Stokes is sure to play a prominent part in the future of English cricket. Making his debut in test cricket, he has a real chance to prove himself, maintain his place in the team and establish himself as a permanent feature in this England side in all forms of the game. Despite only bowling 8 overs today, it was enough to get a quick glimpse of him to show that, above all, he has the temperament for international cricket. His first ball was smack on a length outside off stump allowing Watson to let it sail through to Prior. His speeds were consistent and by maintaining tight lines, he gave the Aussie batsmen few scoring opportunities.
His record in First Class cricket for Durham is impressive. With a batting average of a shade under 36, along with a bowling average of just over 28, the stats suggest he has all the makings of a good, solid all round cricketer. He has had a taste of silver ware, playing an integral part of Durham’s County Championship winning side last season. He had been spotted by the England selectors back in 2011, when he was included in the ODI team to play Ireland. Unable to bowl due to a broken finger, his first spell in an England shirt required him to play an essential role with the bat. Unfortunately he found limited success, being dropped after just a few matches. Despite this early, but minor setback, his form for Durham prompted the selectors to pick him, once again, for an ODI against the Irish. On this occasion however, he played as a third seamer, supporting Finn and Rankin, and batted all the way down the order at number 8. While at first his ability as a third seamer was questioned by fans and commentators alike, he soon proved them wrong, taking his first 5 wicket haul in England colours.
His performance in ODI cricket made certain that his name was in the hat for Ashes selection. His inclusion in the squad was a surprise to many as it appeared that, due to his selection in the last Ashes test in the summer, all-rounder rival, Chris Woakes, would get a spot on the plane. But it was Stokes who was chosen and, through Jonathan Trotts departure from the squad, he made his way into the starting eleven in the second test. His young and relative inexperience may have aided his selection, as England keep an eye on the future to allow a smooth transition of current players leaving the team and new players coming in. On the card to bat at 6, and with England’s batting proving to be shaky on the trip thus far, he is under immense pressure to perform when his time with bat in hand comes. At the age of 22, he has masses of potential and, in the near future, could be England’s all-rounder in all forms of the game. The next Paul Collingwood, the next Andrew Flintoff, who knows, but first he has to perform in order to establish himself in the team.