Ahead of England’s attempt to win its maiden ICC 50-over trophy, former skipper Ian Botham has lauded the Indian Premier League for making a better criketer of all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The 25-year-old, who was named IPL’s Most Valuable Player, picked 12 wickets besides scoring 316 runs in 12 games, and was pivotal in powering Rising Pune Supergiant into the final. Recently, Stokes propelled England to victory in the second ODI against South Africa, smashing 11 boundaries and three sixes in his match-winning knock of 101 runs from 79 balls.
Labelling Stokes as a `matured` cricketer , Botham said that the former has returned from India with a clearer mindset.
“He has matured as a person and cricketer. People were asking me, ‘Do you think he should have gone for that long to the IPL?’ The answer is ‘yes’ because he’s come back a better cricketer. He’s probably thinking a lot clearer and knows what he wants to do; he doesn’t get flustered anymore,” cricket.com.au quoted Botham as saying during an interview.
“I think people should look at the bigger picture and not just say ‘he’s got a knee injury and that he picked it up while playing the IPL’ when in fact, he’s had that for a while,” he added.
Although the all-rounder is expected to be fit for the marquee event, he has been rested for the final ODI against South Africa as a precautionary measure. Stokes has been carrying a slight niggle in his left knee and is expected to undergo a few more scans before England commences its Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh on Thursday.
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