Updated: October 1, 2017 2:25:22 pm
Former Australian cricketer Ian Chappell fells that England all-rounder Ben Stokes is a “serious difference maker” in the English side and his presence or absence in the Ashes would make a lot of difference for the visiting team.
“With Ben Stokes in the team, England has a realistic chance of retaining the Ashes. If the fiercely competitive allrounder is missing through suspension following a late night altercation in Bristol, then there’s more chance of the Brexit decision being reversed than England clinging to the urn,” Chappell wrote in his exclusive column for Hindustan Times.
“It’s not only Stokes’ skill with bat, ball and in the field that makes a difference to England but also his competitive aura. His match winning capabilities drag his teammates along with him and because he’s not over-awed by an opponent it helps to boost any England player who feels over-matched in Australia. He is a serious difference maker.”
Mentioning about the problems that the England team has been facing with the top-order, Chappell suggested, “England’s batting, particularly the top order has been an on-going problem for some time. This has come about partly through mis-guided selection, which has in turn led to a badly balanced batting order.
“Australia has similar problems with their batting in that they are heavily reliant on two players — David Warner and Steve Smith. However, the support line-up is more settled than England’s, provided Usman Khawaja continues to deliver success at home from the No 3 spot.”
Comparing the bowling department of both sides, Chappell insisted,”The pace bowling on both sides is strong but Australia possesses more speed. Wisely harnessed, this is a great asset in Australia as Mitchell Johnson amply displayed during England’s last visit Down Under. If Australia’s four leading proponents of pace, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson can remain fit and in-form for the duration of the series, then they will defeat England with or without Stokes.”
“The spin bowling advantage lies with Australia, as Nathan Lyon is a superior off-spin exponent to Ali but both will complement the pace attack rather than play a dominant role,” he added.
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