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Is Stokes really the best?

R ecently, Indian captain Virat Kohli said Hardik Pandya could be for India what Ben ...

Is Stokes really the best?
R

ecently, Indian captain Virat Kohli said Hardik Pandya could be for India what Ben Stokes is for England. He said this after the 23-year-old bowling all-rounder made a quick-fire half-century in his first Test innings against Sri Lanka.

In my view, Ben Stokes is an overrated player. There are much better all-rounders in world cricket today whose performances should be the benchmark for the young cricketers coming up.

If we consider only fast bowling all-rounders, there are many players better than him.

He is not the best even in his own country. There is Chris Woakes who has got fewer opportunities than Stokes but has performed well whenever he got chance.

Stokes averages 34 with the bat in Tests and has 86 wickets from 36 matches, 2.38 wickets per match. In ODIs, he averages 34 and has taken 50 wickets in 59 matches. He averages 14 in T20Is and has 10 wickets from 21 matches.

Woakes averages 29 in Tests and has 48 wickets from 17 matches, 2.83 wickets per match. He averages 25 in ODIs and has 89 wickets from 63 matches, far better than Stokes. In T20Is, he averages 30 and has seven wickets from eight matches.

Vernon Philander of South Africa averages about 26 in Tests and has 171 wickets from 46 matches, 3.71 wickets per match, much better than Stokes.

Mitchell Starc of Australia averages 25 in Tests and has 148 wickets from 36 matches, 4.11 wickets per match, again way ahead of Stokes.

If we include spin bowling all-rounders in our analysis, there are many players who are much more valuable for their teams than Stokes is for England.

His teammate Moeen Ali got the man of the series award against South Africa with 25 wickets in four Tests and 252 runs, averaging 36. In the same series, Stokes scored 299, averaging 37, but got only seven wickets in four matches.

Moeen averages 35 in Tests and has 123 wickets from 41 matches, three wickets per match.

Ravindra Jadeja of India averages 29 in Tests and has 155 wickets from just 32 matches, a staggering 4.84 wickets per match. He averages 31 in ODIs and has 155 wickets from 136 matches.

Ravi Ashwin of India averages 32 with the bat, which is a huge bonus for the Indian team since he is a specialist bowler with 286 wickets from 51 Tests and has rightly been called the Bradman of bowlers.

Shakib Al Hassan of Bangladesh averages 41 in Tests and has 176 wickets from 49 matches, a brilliant 4.09 wickets per match.

His average of 35 in ODIs and 224 wickets from 177 matches make him the best all-rounder of the world cricket today. In T20Is, his batting average is 23. Besides, he has taken 70 wickets from 59 matches.

Mushfiq Ahmad

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