The rare talent of trouble stricken Stokes

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NDON: Ben Stokes has long been thought of as key to England´s chances of success during the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia, and that view has only hardened since his place was put in jeopardy by his arrest.

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Speculation over Stokes´s future intensified Thursday when England suspended him from international matches until further notice after the publication of a video apparently showing him fighting outside a Bristol nightclub.

The Test vice-captain was included in England´s Ashes squad announced this week, despite his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in the early hours of Monday, after an incident which left him with an injured hand.

The unseemly turn of events has left England in a quandary over Stokes, whose ability with both bat and ball makes him that most highly prized of cricketers — a genuine all-rounder.

That was true in more ways than one when this year saw Stokes became the Indian Premier League´s most expensive foreign player when he was signed by the Rising Pune Supergiant for £1.7 million ($2.2 million).

He made good on the price-tag by scoring 316 runs at a strike rate of 142.98 and taking 12 wickets at an economy rate of 7.18 in the Twenty20 event.Stokes´s on-field failures can be as great as his successes — the prime example being when Carlos Brathwaite hit him for four successive sixes to snatch a stunning win for West Indies in the last over of the 2016 World Twenty20 final.

But Stokes, unlike many other players, has forged a successful career in all three international formats and often demonstrates more guile than is suggested by his all-action approach.

Nevertheless, his capacity to score quickly, which excites crowds and frustrates opponents in equal measure, is the most eye-catching of a range of talents that also include excellent close-catching.

AFP

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