VVS Laxman reckons Ben Stokes seems to be at the top of his game despite playing competitive cricket after a considerable time.
Before arriving for the Test series in India, Ben Stokes had played just three T20Is for England against South Africa, following his stint for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2020. But the all-rounder did not show any ring rust, as he smashed 82 runs on the second day of the first Test at Chepauk.
VVS Laxman highlighted that Ben Stokes had taken the attack to the Indian bowlers, particularly the spinners, once he had got set, and didn’t look affected by his long absence from the game.
“The way he took the aggressive approach after the first half an hour, it was amazing. He did not look rusty at all. The way he played the shots against the spinners, using his feet apart from the slog sweeps and reverse sweeps, it was awesome batting,” the former Indian batsman said while talking about England’s batting effort during a discussion on Star Sports.
A breakthrough for #TeamIndia! 👍👍
Shahbaz Nadeem strikes to break the Joe Root-Ben Stokes stand. 👍👍
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 6, 2021
Laxman also pointed out that Ben Stokes, who didn’t feature in the two Tests in Sri Lanka, opted to get his eye in at the start of the second day’s play.
“England knew the first half an hour is going to be very important. India had three experienced bowlers, so they played cautiously, especially Ben Stokes. We know he has not played any cricket after the IPL, he was not there on the Sri Lanka tour as well,” added Laxman.
Ashish Nehra observed that Ben Stokes’ familiarity with Indian conditions more than made up for his lack of competitive cricket recently. He added the all-rounder was also benefited by the solid base that had already been laid by Dom Sibley and Joe Root.
“Ben Stokes may not have played much recently but has a lot of experience. He has toured India earlier as well and is one of the main players for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He is the world’s top all-rounder and he showed that one more time. The foundation that had been laid by Sibley and Joe Root, Ben Stokes took advantage of that,” said Nehra
Ben Stokes got off to a sedate start as he scored just 11 runs in the first 30 deliveries he faced, which also included a six off Ravichandran Ashwin. But two consecutive boundaries off Ishant Sharma in the 14th over of the day got him going and he never looked back thereafter.
Most sixes in Test cricket since 2015:
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) February 6, 2021