Why it’s time to drop Ben Stokes

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Cricket - Investec Test Series 2015 - England v New Zealand - Lord's Cricket Ground, London, England

Ben Stokes makes things happen. Against South Africa in Cape Town on the second day, he made time distort such that England appeared to make 312 runs in just 38.5 overs.

At one point the TV commentators were reduced to debating whether the ball had landed on the railway line or in the brewery. After a while, Mike Atherton thought of something else useful to say. He pointed out that Jonny Bairstow was also batting.

Most people hadn’t noticed, even though the Yorkshireman was midway through making 150 not out off 191 balls – celebrating three figures in such a way that it left no doubt that this was the Test hundred that his late father, David, had never made.

That Bairstow became a sideplot was down to the sheer all-consuming brilliance of Ben Stokes’ innings. Carnage has rarely been so enduring. As it was a Test match, there was none of that running out of overs and giving someone else a go bollocks. He shifted into 86th gear early on and just remained there, entirely unaffected by any kind of deadline.

If he was seeing it like a football, then he was seeing it like a neon football having had special neon football tracking cyberware installed in his eyes. He hit the ball hard. He hit the ball hard a lot. The innings was basically Ben Stokes’ greatest hits.

The impact was such that at the lunch break, Nasser Hussain was actually sombre with admiration. His brain simply didn’t know what to do. It settled on sombre, which was obviously wrong, but also understandable. This was uncharted territory. Asked how the England team would be feeling, Ian Botham said they would be “literally circling the moon”. Perhaps he meant on a diagram of the solar system. This would be a strange way to celebrate one of the great partnerships, but just what was the correct response?

If momentum really were a thing, Stokes won’t be coming to a stop until some point in 2017. Conversely, he may never be due again.

They should probably drop him.


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  1. You know it’s been a special day when KC’s stream of consciousness thinking out loud on Twitter makes it into a proper article.

    1. People can read that? We always thought it was a brainstorming app.

      Back to Notepad. Greatest program ever created is Notepad.

  2. B. Stokes has so much momentum, it is a wonder he has not blasted himself off to space.

  3. Daisy has gone into utter bolshy redhead mode since mid-morning. She says it’s their day.

    This simply has to stop, KC is right.

    Drop Stokes. Drop Bairstow too. These super-human red tops are doing my head in.

    Bring back Ian Bell; a carrot top for all of us.

    1. Maybe the selectors should speak to the South Africans. They seem to be experts in dropping Stokes and Bairstow.

      1. Very IRONIC that early on in Bairstow’s innings on day1, QDK missed exact similar stumping to the one which Bairstow missed in first test of deVilliers.

        While Bairstow got a lot of stick for that missed chance but QDK IMO got off very lightly for his misses

    2. Daneel, you’ve changed your avatar! And your username. And your style of typing. Still unmistakably you, though.

      1. I plead innocent. I’m taking a break from posting until I’m over it and have regained my interest in cricket. I think it’ll take a couple of years.

  4. Nobody critical of Stokes for the rash Stoke he played to get out?

    On the other hand if England had declared on 900/5 at end of day 2, then Alastair Cook, would not have had the option of not enforcing follow-on after South Africa’s 1st innings inevitably ends sometime on day4.

    So we can excuse Stokes this time, but hope it doesn’t become a habit of one rash stroke Throwing away the innings after 3 sessions of clean and concentrated striking of the ball.

    On a side note, Stokes comedic dismissal, is a lesson to the likes of KP on how to get out via a rash stroke but not get blamed for it.

    1. What does Hales bowl? Absolute filth would be my educated guess. Any better or worse than the dross Cook might bring himself on to bowl tomorrow?

      1. Michael Holding called it “right-arm optimistic”.

        It’s not as good as Cook’s round-arm shod – by which we mean it’s better; much less filthy.

        Alastair Cook is the finest bowler there is.

  5. It is definitely time for SA to drop Stokes, but this time don’t run him out afterwards, pretty please?

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