Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 27 (ANI): England stand-in ODI skipper Jos Buttler on Saturday praised Ben Stokes, saying the all-rounder has improved his batting a lot over the course of the last few years.
In the second ODI, which India lost by six wickets, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes played knocks of 124 and 99 respectively as England defeated India with 39 balls to spare to level the three-match series 1-1. The series decider will now be played on Sunday. In the 99-run knock, Stokes hammered 10 sixes and he took a special liking to India’s spinners — Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya.
“It was certainly very impressive, wasn’t it? Stokes has had a few good innings, his World Cup final innings was a special one, I enjoyed that. We all know the talent Ben has, I have felt over the last few years that Ben’s batting has continued to improve and it has gone to a certain level, we have seen that in all the formats. He is an outstanding cricketer and it was fantastic to watch yesterday, he is an intimidating guy to bowl at. Long may his form continue into the IPL,” said Buttler while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
When asked whether Stokes can bat at number three in T20Is as well, Buttler said: “Yeah, absolutely, it impressive to see how Ben always wants to be involved in the game. It was fantastic to watch, he played so well in that position in the second ODI. Lots of guys have played well when they were presented with the opportunity, it is the kind of bench strength we have had for a while. Dawid Malan is the number one T20 batsman in the world, that’s no fluke.
“He has been outstanding for us in that position for a long period of now. People are always talking about where I should bat, where Jonny Bairstow should bat. We have a great talent in white-ball cricket, lots of guys who want to face most of the balls, as we move forward, things can change. We have got great options, it is a good headache to have for the guys in charge.”
Buttler is leading England currently in the ongoing ODI series against India after regular skipper Eoin Morgan suffered a split webbing between his thumb and index finger in the first ODI of the three-match series.
Talking about his bond with Morgan, Buttler said: “I was thinking about it really before captaining yesterday. I have had a great relationship with Eoin for a long time now as a vice-captain. He is one of the best captains I have played under, he is a great friend and I have learned a lot by talking to him. That’s certainly been a great education for me on learning how Eoin goes about his thing. It has certainly helped me when I have had to step in his shoes when he has not been available. I do not have loads of experience as a captain, so there are different feelings you have to get used to.
“I think myself and Eoin have a very similar view on the game. I think that runs throughout the team, it is not just the captain and vice-captain, it is also the senior players, we all generally see the game similarly and it is a big plus for English cricket at this time. Another strength of this side is that everyone is honest with their opinions, the way I see cricket is very closely aligned to Eoin.” (ANI)