England cricketer Rikki Clarke was in a dilemma when asked to pick one between Ben Stokes, Andrew Flintoff and Ian Botham. Calling all three England all-rounders "incredible," Clarke stated that it’s difficult to pick one as all three played in different eras.
Rikki Clarke broke into the England side in the mid-2000s as a talented young all-rounder, but his appearances were limited due to the presence of Andrew Flintoff, who was at the top of his game.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu for SK Live, Rikki Clarke said:
“I don’t think I can pick one (Andrew Flintoff and Ben Stokes). Different eras are a factor. When Flintoff played, he was compared to Ian Botham, who was an incredible all-rounder in his era. Same with Flintoff, who was brilliant in his era and the same with Ben Stokes now.
“If you see the Ashes of 2005, it was Flintoff’s impact. In 1981, it was Botham’s Ashes, and in 2019, we saw how Stokes turned things around at Headingly. I just can’t pick one. All of them have incredible personalities. Flintoff would connect well with any person on the street, and it’s the same with Stokes.”
All three men have dominated their eras with their extraordinary skills with bat, ball or as a fielder. Recency bias may tilt things towards Ben Stokes, but Ian Botham's impact can't be ignored.
Ian Botham vs Andrew Flintoff vs Ben Stokes: Stats
Ben Stokes, a competitor and a leader: Rikki Clarke
Ben Stokes was one of the architects of England’s win against India in the first Chennai Test. He got a counterattacking 82 in the first innings and picked up the critical wicket of Virat Kohli on the final day of the Test.
Calling him a complete package, Rikki Clarke praised the New Zealand-born cricketer as a "leader" and "competitor."
“Ben Stokes is truly an incredible all-rounder. He has all the attributes in terms of pace and skill. He has all the shots with the bat. He is a competitor and a leader,” added Rikki Clarke, who played for England between 2003 and 2006.
Ben Stokes is currently the vice-captain of the England Test side, having led them in a match against West Indies in 2020.