James Anderson: 'Ben Stokes is the best all-rounder I've played with'

James Anderson hailed Ben Stokes as the best all-rounder he has ever played with, after the 29-year-old helped England win the second Test against West Indies.

Ben Stokes celebrates the fall of a West Indies wicket with James Anderson in the first Test in Southampton.   -  Getty Images

James Anderson has hailed team-mate Ben Stokes as the best all-rounder he has ever played with, after the 29-year-old’s match haul of 254 runs and three wickets helped England level the three-match Test series in Manchester on Monday.

“It is hard to say how good he (Stokes) is because it is difficult to find the words... Joe Root said the other day that ‘we are in the presence of greatness’ and he is spot on,” said Anderson.

"The fact that he (Stokes) could get into any team as a batsman without his bowling or fielding speaks volumes. His bowling is getting better and better each time he goes out there and he could get into a lot of teams' bowling attacks. To have that talent in our team and to be able to watch it first-hand is amazing,” added Anderson.

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“After a week where he has done everything - chasing balls off his own bowling, batting and getting wickets as well - it [the workload] can take its toll. We got to look after him and make sure we can keep getting the best out of him for as long as possible because he is becoming the best all-rounder England has ever had and there is no reason why he can't go on to be even better.”

Dealing with attention

The veteran fast bowler also threw his weight behind fellow paceman Jofra Archer, who wrote in his Daily Mail column about how difficult the last week has been for him. Archer was forced to miss the second Test after being found guilty of breaching the team's COVID-19 protocol, then was handed a fine and written warning by the ECB. "It [Dealing with attention] can be difficult for the guys coming into the international set up. You feel like you are under more spotlight. I guess it boils down to finding out ways to deal with all the extra attention.

"I was fortunate when I came into the England team, there was no social media back then, but the way people can get their opinions out there, it's quite visible.”

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"We haven't seen much of him (Archer) because he has been in isolation for a few days. I'm sure he'll want to play in this game because it's such a crucial game, the series resting on it. He's said about his frame of mind and that's something that over the next two days he's going to have to sit down with the captain and coach (Chris Silverwood) and figure out if he is in the right place to play.”

The third Test between England and West Indies will be aired LIVE on Sony Six channels from 24th July 2020, 3.30 pm onwards

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