Former Australian World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting is of the opinion that English all-rounder Ben Stokes will be the biggest threat to Australia in the upcoming Ashes series. He further compared him to former English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and stated he is one of the biggest assets of the English team. Stokes played a match-winning knock in the final of the 2019 World Cup which gave England their maiden World Cup.
It has been a sensational two years for England all-rounder after his career was on the brink after being banned and fined by the England and the Wales Cricket Board for engaging in a street brawl during a night in Bristol back in 2017. He further missed the last Ashes tour before he was cleared of any criminal charges. The incident stripped him from the Test vice-captaincy.
Meanwhile, Ricky Ponting who worked as an assistant of Justin Langer who is the head coach of the Australian team was highly impressed with Stokes’ performance in the World Cup.
“It seems like he’s playing with a lot of maturities,” former Australia captain Ponting told cricket.com.au late Wednesday. “He doesn’t seem like he’s in much of a rush now as he might have been.
“The thing about his personality as well, he’s a big, strong, brash guy with a bit of an ego… and I think as a younger person probably everything was flat out, one speed. To me, (during the World Cup) it seems like he (was) able to understand situations and play situations accordingly. That’s a bit of maturity and understanding his own game and understanding what his team needs him to do.”
The form of Ben Stokes will be critical next month when Australia clash against England in the Ashes trying to win their first Ashes in England since 2001.
“He’s a key man and more a key man because I think he’s that real heartbeat for their team, a bit like ‘Freddie’ Flintoff in Ashes series gone by,” said Ponting. “Whenever they were in trouble and they needed something, they tend to go to those sort of guys. Australia needs to keep him quiet if we’re going to win the series.”
Currently, Ben Stokes has been rested for the one-off four day Test against Ireland. The hosts were in for a shock as they were skittled out for a meagre 85 runs in 23 overs.