Every team in the world would want Ben Stokes in their side, according to England captain, Eoin Morgan
Stokes made an unbeaten 102 against Australia at Edgbaston – his third century in 13 ODIs – as England secured a third successive victory in the ICC Champions Trophy. He added 159 in 26 overs with Morgan to rescue England from 35 for 3 to clinch a 40-run DLS victory.
It left Morgan praising an allrounder who has the talent – with bat, ball or in the field – and the attitude to help England win games. And he credited his experience in the IPL for contributing to the calm manner in which he helped England chase down their target at Edgbaston.
“The IPL auction proved that every team would want him,” Morgan said, referring to Stokes’ £1.7m price tag before the recent IPL season. “He’s always looking to influence the game: with the bat, ball, or even in the field.
“Even in the field today at mid-on, he saved a lot of runs. He went through a period today of about five overs where he was unbelievable. He always wants to be in the game.
“That attitude in itself… You know, a lot of guys with potential like that, when things aren’t going your way, go back into a corner. But that’s not Ben.”
While it was Stokes’ batting that stood out, Morgan also praised Stokes’ versatility and willingness with the ball. And he credited his growing experience, not least during that spell with Rising Pune Supergiant, as a crucial ingredient.
“I think he bowled four overs in his first spell,” Morgan said. “And then we went back to him at the end with two of the hardest overs to bowl.
“You know, that sums him up. He took it on his shoulders. He did it at the IPL. He did it really well.
“And then his batting was exceptional. He was very calm at the crease; very relaxed. All those games he’s played really came to the fore today. He was outstanding. His potential is through the roof.”
Stokes and Morgan reacted to the loss of three early wickets in typically positive fashion. Despite going into a rain-break at 35 for 3, Morgan hit the first two balls after the resumption for four, precipitating a partnership in which both batsmen took the attack to Australia and eventually forced errors both from the bowlers and the fielders.
“It was important to get some sort of a partnership going and find a way we were going to negate Australia’s bowling,” Morgan said. “They bowled really well up front. They asked a lot of questions and got the ball moving. They’re a very threatening side.
“But it managed to work. We did it in our own way. We felt, I suppose, the positive way was the best way. And we spoke about how we were going to go about it a little bit differently. The way in which we played forced a few errors here and there.”
But pleased though Morgan was by the result, he rejected any idea that England were on the brink of “a period of domination” in ODI cricket.
“I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself,” Morgan replied. “A start would be winning the semi-final.
“Beating a side like Australia in a game where we’ve nothing to gain is a big step forward for us because we beat one of the better sides around the world. And if we’re being serious about competing in future tournaments, we need to win games of cricket like this.”