Ben Stokes is slated to bat at No 4 for England in the T20 World Cup but is his place under pressure? Sky Sports Cricket’s Michael Atherton: “Stokes hasn’t played much T20 for a while but it is a big tournament and he is big-game player with a big-game temperament”
Wednesday 12 October 2022 08:42, UK
Is Ben Stokes certain to be in England’s XI at the T20 World Cup?
It seems sacrilegious to even question the place of a man who has led England’s Test revival, played those innings at Headingley and Lord’s in 2019, and is capable of winning games with bat and ball.
But Stokes is yet to score a half-century in 29 T20 international innings and has played the format infrequently over the last few years due to injury, his break from the game and Test commitments.
Stokes’ role – he is slated to bat at No 4 in Australia – was debated on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast by host Ian Ward, colleagues Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton and CricViz’s Freddie Wilde…
Listen to the podcast in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.
Former England captain Atherton said: “Is Stokes a shoo-in? He hasn’t played much T20 for a while but it is a big tournament and he is big-game player with a big-game temperament.”
Wilde added: “I think England will start with Stokes for the reasons Athers mentioned, while I also think he is suited to Australian conditions with the pace and bounce. But if he has a few quiet games and Sam Curran is on the bench – which he could be – that debate will gather some momentum.
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“It is a tough call because Stokes has hardly played any T20 cricket in the last 18 months whereas Curran has played around the world and done fantastically well. It’s a live debate.
“If I was going back in time and making the decisions for England six months or a year ago I think I might have used Stokes at the top of the order, where he played for Rajasthan Royals with Jos Buttler in the IPL. Stokes and Buttler as a left-hand, right-hand combination solved a lot of problems.
“England didn’t go down that route and it has now left them in a situation where they are trying to get Stokes higher up the order, where he is better suited. But you have Buttler, Alex Hales and Dawid Malan as locks in the top three so the highest you can get Stokes is No 4.
“I think he will still do quite well in this World Cup because he enjoys pace and bounce as a batsman but it is a difficult role in the middle order and will be a real test of his credentials.”
Liam Livingstone is hoping to be fit for England’s final warm-up game against Pakistan on October 17 before the team begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on October 22.
Livingstone has been out with an ankle injury since August and Harry Brook impressed in his absence in Pakistan, emerging as the tourists’ leading run-scorer in the 4-3 series victory.
Hussain said of Livingstone: “I think he needs to play a bit of cricket but he gets into my side just because of the dynamic of someone coming in lower down the order.
“When we started doing T20, everyone said, ‘don’t worry about your No 7, they only face seven deliveries, you might as well play the extra bowler’.
“But if you have a No 7 like Kieron Pollard, Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Stokes or whoever, that gives you that extra batting depth and it means that top six can absolutely go for it.”
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– Who are the favourites to win an ‘open’ tournament?
– Are South Africa the dark horses?
Watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports from Sunday, October 16. England’s first game is against Afghanistan on Saturday, October 22, with build-up starting at 11.30am ahead of a midday start.
Follow England’s three-match T20I series in Australia across Sky Sports’ digital platforms. Our live blog of game two, in Canberra, will get under way at 8.45am on Wednesday ahead of a 9.10am start.
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