Ben Stokes Is Not Interested In Milestones As He prepares For The 100th Test

Ben Stokes Is Not Interested In Milestones As He prepares For The 100th Test, One hundred Tests is “just a number”, said the man of the moment on the eve of his milestone match in Rajkot. It’s a sentiment that many sportsmen have expressed in the past when the evolutionary fluke of a Base-10 counting system has intersected with what would otherwise be a random point in their careers, and suddenly they’re being asked to indulge in a self-evaluation exercise.

Few players, however, can have trotted out that somewhat clichéd retort with more authority than Ben Stokes, a man for whom numbers have been proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, to mean nothing.

Ben Stokes Is Not Interested In Milestones As He prepares For The 100th Test

The Match Turning Two And Three Wicket Bursts

It’s not simply that Stokes’ Test batting average of 36.34 disregards the fact that no cause is ever lost. While he remains at the crease, his bowling mark of 32.07 cannot begin to express. The relentlessness of his lengths when he embarks on another of those match-turning two- and three-wicket bursts. Stokes’ importance to England – and frankly. Test cricket – has long since shed the need for statistical validation.

And yet, somehow, in the course of these past two years in particular. Stokes has hit upon a means to quantify the unquantifiable, to tot up those one-percenters of inspiration that have dotted. His previous 99 Tests and present them as part of a higher body of work. In so doing, he’s allowed his genius to be examined to an extent that. For all their greatness, his two England allround predecessors Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff were never quite able to replicate.

He’s achieved it, of course, by becoming England captain. For 21 Tests and counting now. More than a fifth of his Test appearances already, and therefore a more-than-ample sample size to extrapolate across the rest of his career.

Where Once You Might Have Had to Rely on The Arbitrary

Where once you might have had to rely on the arbitrary impact of a breathtaking catch. He says, as Stokes’ screamer at the gully that remains the iconic moment of Stuart Broad’s 8 for 15 at Trent Bridge in 2015.

Now you can look at almost any aspect of England’s Test cricket since the start of his tenure in the spring of 2022 – from the confidence he imbued in Rehan Ahmed and Tom Hartley on debut. To the surge of a previously cowed batting line-up, and most importantly. The transformation of England’s results from that nadir of one win in 17 that preceded this era – and see his influence seared on every moment.

That shift in emphasis has not precluded Stokes from being the center of attention. When needs must perhaps most thrillingly at Lord’s last summer. When his furious fourth-innings 155 almost snatched the second Test. From Australia’s grasp – nor from indulging in more of those. Trent-Bridge-style flashes of brilliance, such as his critical run-out of Ravindra Jadeja at Hyderabad. But, like a proud parent hovering on the sidelines as the stabilizers come off the bike. His comfort in the reflected glory of a newly successful England team is becoming the ultimate testament to both his influence and his self-assurance.

It was exactly a year ago, during England’s tour of New Zealand. The Stokes expressed the truth that best epitomizes his tenure. “I’m at a stage now where I would much prefer to leave a mark on other people’s careers than look to make mine more established. He said on the eve of the series opener in Mount Maunganui. “I’ve played a lot of cricket and done some great things with some great teams over the years. Being captain now. I’ve got a real desire to make the best out of the team that I’ve got, and the players who will come in the future.”

It Was A Statement Of Unusually Altruistic Intent

It was a statement of unusually altruistic intent. But also extreme self-awareness – and one that has been borne out by his team’s subsequent displays. The bigging-up of the men around him has been the bigging-up of England as a whole – and that. As if to prove the point, includes those very same career stats for which Stokes would not otherwise care less.

Despite deploying himself as a matter of last resort and, during the manic early months of Bazball. As something close to a sacrificial madman. Swinging blindly from the hip as if to prove that personal gain was irrelevant. In this new team ethos, his batting average is more than two runs per inning better now that he is captain. While his bowling mark has slipped below 32 despite his dodgy knee limiting him to five wickets since the end of the 2022 summer.

More Read: Neesham To Decide On International Future After T20 World Cup

Stokes Is At The Start Of His 100th Test

And so, here Stokes is at the start of his 100th Test – a literal field marshal. Whose deliberate retreat from day-to-day miracle-making has enhanced his authority in a team. That might otherwise still be in thrall to his genius and reputation. On the contrary, each man in Stokes’ midst is now empowered by the permission he grants them to go out and be today’s hero. And to deliver the only statistics that count in the end.

By abdurrauf2930

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