England all-rounder Ben Stokes has grown leaps and bound in stature of a match-winner in recent times.
Stokes was instrumental in England’s 2019 World Cup final win over New Zealand last year. He also helped his team bounce back in the subsequent Ashes series at Headingley with his heroic 134* run knock in the fourth innings.
Even in the recent second Test match against West Indies at Manchester, Stokes’ herculean all-round efforts helped England level the series, which they won later.
Stokes has been the leading run-scorer for England in Test this year and has chipped in by breaking vital partnership with the ball. Also, the athleticism of the English vice-captain in the field is infectious.
The Indian team, on the other hand, has been in a dire need of a fast-bowling all-rounder who can win matches on his own.
Barring Kapil Dev, the only cricketer they have come across is Hardik Pandya. Now, former Indian all-rounder, Irfan Pathan has made bold claims regarding Hardik not even in the top 10 all-rounders in the world, irrespective of formats.
The Indian team, in the last few decades, has been perennially in search of the replacement of the 1983 World Cup winner, Dev.
“Unfortunately, Hardik Pandya is not there in the top 10 (on the rankings) in any format of the game. He has the potential; there is no doubt about it. But what I’m saying is that if we have an all-rounder with that kind of calibre who wins matches, Indian cricket will be invincible,” Pathan told cricket.com.
Further, Pathan went on to state that a cricketer like Stokes’ is the missing piece in the ‘jigsaw’ for the Indian team.
“Ben Stokes has become the number one all-rounder in the world by winning matches for England. What I wish for Team India is to have an all-rounder who wins games for India,” the cricketer turned commentator concluded.
The other Indian all-rounders tried at the highest level are Vijay Shankar and Shivam Dubey who have not lived up to the expectations yet.