Former batsman, Robert Key feels that Ben Stokes is underutilized by the England management in the T20 format. Key points out that the left-hander doesn’t even have a T20I half-century, despite being one of the most dangerous batsmen in the England team.
While Eoin Morgan’s team is leading the ongoing series against India, however, their ‘best cricketer’, according to Robert Key, doesn’t have any significant contributions to show. In fact, Ben Stokes averages a mediocre 19.10 with the bat and 39.11 with the ball in T20Is; while his numbers in the IPL are better than these.
“I’m not sure I know the answer to this (On how England can use Ben Stokes better). But I do know is that they are not getting the best out of their best cricketer in all formats. If you have a look at Ben Stokes’ stats in T20Is, one thing that is striking to me is that he hasn’t even got a fifty. This is Ben Stokes. He is probably one of England’s most destructive powerful players, and he hasn’t got a fifty,” Robert Key said while speaking with Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports.
Ben Stokes’ game is more suited to bat up the order: Robert Key
Rob Key believes that Ben Stokes should be batting higher in the England team than he currently does. The 41-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator further points out that Stokes has got two hundreds in the IPL – one each for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant and for the Rajasthan Royals – but he has hit those two tons when batting in the top 5, unlike the number 6 where he often bats in his national team. Key reckons since the left-hander needs some time to settle himself, he should be batting in the top order.
“If you look at the position that he bats, generally, he is coming in later on in T20 cricket. If he’s coming in for the first five overs as an opener, he has got two hundreds in that time in the IPL. His game, I think, is more suited to earlier on.
“His strike rate of 134 at no 6 (in the IPL) does not look too bad, but when you compare that to the best no. 6 in the world in T20 cricket, they are striking at 170-180 or somewhere between that. So we need to find a way somehow to get more out of Ben Stokes,” Robert Key asserted.