Ponting reveals the dangerman for England at Ashes
Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting reckons that Ben Stokes is the dangerman for England in the upcoming Ashes series. He also went on to give a warning for Australia to be extra careful in dealing with this productive all-rounder who is capable of causing both with the bat and the ball.
The 28-year-old Ben Stokes missed the most recent Test series against Australia after he was charged with causing an affray after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub. However, Stokes was ultimately found not guilty and then he subsequently rebuilt his career by carving out a reputation for himself as one of world elite all-rounders.
His effect of destruction was seen in a man of the match performance against New Zealand in a historic World Cup success at Lord’s a fortnight ago. It is no doubt that England’s Test team struggled without the Ben Stokes against Ireland this week who was rested, but Ponting feels Stokes’ rebound head of the first Test at Edgbaston next week could prove to be important for England and nightmare for Australia.
Ponting said, “It seems like he’s playing with a lot of maturity. He doesn’t seem like he’s in much of a rush now as he might have been. The thing about his personality as well: he’s a big, strong, brash guy with a bit of an ego, and I think as a younger person, probably everything was flat out one speed. To me, [during the World Cup] it seems like he [was] able to understand situations and play situations accordingly.
“That’s a bit of maturity and understanding his own game, and understanding what his team needs him to do. ‘He’s a very, very good player. Some of the innings I’ve seen him play in Test cricket have been as good a ball-striking innings as we’ve seen from the best batsmen in the world. He can back it up with the ball, and if he’s not one of the best fielders in the world at the moment, I’ll be very surprised,” he added.
“He’s a key man, and more a key man because I think he’s that real heartbeat for their team, a bit like ‘Freddie’ Flintoff in Ashes series gone by. ‘Whenever they were in trouble and they needed something, they tend to go to those sort of guys, and Australia need to keep him quiet if we’re going to win the series.
“It’s important that the Australian players don’t let him find [form] early in the series. There are certain players you know that you’ve just got to, hopefully, get on top early. Stokes is one that I think they need to make sure that he doesn’t get away from [them] and he doesn’t have much of an impact on the series,” he added.