England has a big reason to thank the sheer heroics of Ben Stokes for the series win over West Indies at home. The side could have been further embarrassed had Stokes not steadied the ship in the first innings with his resilient half-century, which eventually resulted in England gaining crucial first innings lead.
But apart from his batting, which has time and again been a standard feature of England’s daunting displays, it has been his bowling, which has been far unnoticed. In the first innings, he picked up his career best figures of a six wicket haul, as he ran havoc in the West Indies batting lineup.
Comparing his bowling style with yesteryear legend Courtney Walsh, former England commentator and analyst Nasser Hussain has drawn comparisons between the two.
“When conditions are made for swing everyone feels Jimmy Anderson, with his wrist and fingers behind the ball, has the perfect set-up to take advantage,” wrote Hussain. “The way Stokes releases the ball, by contrast, is not what you would recommend to youngsters seeking out-swing, because he leans to the off side. But he does create angles.”
“Stokes actually reminded me of one of the greatest of them all — Courtney Walsh. He also used to lean away in his delivery stride and made you think the ball was coming in at you, before getting movement towards the slip cordon at the last second,” he added.
Complementing Stokes for his stamina, Hussain mentioned:
“Stokes also showed great stamina — and that he is fully fit — by bowling 13 overs on the trot between lunch and tea to pull off a significant achievement in becoming only the sixth Englishman to feature on both Lord’s honours boards.So Stokes is going from strength to strength, which makes it even more of a shame that he is not playing for England in the T20 international against West Indies at Durham that kicks off the white-ball leg of their tour.”