Ben Stokes given license to play his natural game
England coach Trevor Bayliss has indicated that all-rounder Ben Stokes will be given the licence to play his natural game with the bat after having scored a record-shattering double hundred against South Africa.
In the second Test at Newlands, Stokes smashed a 198-ball knock of 258 runs laced with 30 boundaries and 11 sixes while sharing a 399-run stand with Jonny Bairstow.
This incredible knock from Stokes helped England post 629 for six from 125.5 overs in their first innings from a position where they were placed at 223 for five after 67.5 overs.
Admitting that Stokes has the ability to win matches on his own, Bayliss does not want to supress the natural game of the 24-year-old.
“You don’t want to stifle that sort of ability,” Bayliss said.
“He’s going to be one of those players who can win a team a match and at different times he’s going to disappoint as well - as all of those types of players in history have shown.
“To be honest we didn’t say anything to Ben in either of his innings - that’s just the way he went out and played, he just let it happen.”
South Africa mounted a strong reply riding on a double century from Hashim Amla and went on to score 627 for seven before declaring the innings.
On the final day, the Proteas sprung a surprise as England were reduced to 116-6 after 42.4 overs giving the hosts a small chance to push for an incredible victory.
Stokes holed out trying to play a sweep shot but Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali played patient knocks to pull England towards safety before gloomy weather ended the game in a draw.
Bayliss feels that as the time progresses, Stokes will learn to be more consistent in his game and make the correct shot selection based on the situation of the match.
“On the last day Ben made 20-odd runs in a short space of time, that’s his natural game.
“I think the shot he was out on was the right shot, he probably just didn’t play it correctly.
“Over a period of time I think he’ll become more consistent and maybe take lot more right options.
“Making those right decisions is an area that he’ll learn going forward.”
England have a 1-0 lead and a chance to win their first bilateral contest against South Africa since 2004-05 when they take the field on 14th January for the second Test in Johannesburg.
© Cricket World 2016