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Debunking the Ben Stokes myth

Roar Guru
8th January, 2014
28
2157 Reads

Nations have always had joy in claiming things from New Zealand as their own. Whether it be melodic Crowded House, the fiery Russell Crowe or Phar Lap, Australia have been very good at it.

The English have now discovered this treasure chest of jewels and have claimed a plucky, pimply kid in Ben Stokes as their next Ian Botham.

All this stems from the putrid level of cricket that was put on display by the Poms during the latest Ashes series. This perfect example of how to stink up a major sporting event allowed the young Stokes to make his debut in Adelaide.

Four Tests later and we have the next Ian Botham.

Ian Botham? Yep, they claim he is the next Ian Botham.

Never one to back away from the truth, I have turned to my old friend the stats book to see if the hype matches the reality.

What the stats book shows is that in the eight innings he batted, Stokes made only one century and averaged a rather Richie Benaud like 22 in the other seven innings.

Let’s compare that to Australia’s worst performed batsman on the tour, George Bailey, who also came in at number six.

Our George finished the series with a shared batting world record with Brian Lara and an average of 26.

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All in all, I reckon they are much the same.

Remember when Usman Khawaja made 37 in his first innings and all of Australia drooled like they’d just seen naked pics of Angelina Jolie and/or Brad Pitt?

Well he averaged 33 in his first eight Test innings and no one rates him as the next Botham.

“But Stokes bowls!” I hear you cry from Manchester or Christchurch.

Sure, he took a 6-99, but given he and Broad were the only two fit bowlers in Sydney, he was bound to bowl enough overs to get some wickets.

He ended up with an Anderson like average of 32 but an Imran Tahir like economy rate of 4.21.

And he has red hair.

For comparison, Australia’s most loved cricket personality, Shane Watson, has a better bowling average and we don’t call him the next Ian Botham. We just call him something that rhymes with banker.

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So there you have it. Ben Stokes is overrated. Not quite James Anderson overrated, but well on his way.

But don’t lose hope New Zenglish supporters. There is always Scott Borthwick as a back-up.