Paul Collingwood: Ben Stokes's treatment by England like playing Cristiano Ronaldo at right-back
Former England cricket captain Paul Collingwood has said that Ben Stokes’s performance yesterday has made the England Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to drop him from the World Cup squad look ‘ridiculous’. Stokes, playing at number 5, hit 151 runs off 86 balls for England Lions against South Africa A.
Stokes was dropped from the World Cup squad by the national selectors after he struggled while playing at number 8 against Sri Lanka in December. He managed just 22 runs in two innings in the island country. However, he hit form batting at No. 3 for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League by smashing 77 runs in just 37 balls against the Hobart Hurricanes.
“What England did with him is like telling Cristiano Ronaldo to play at right-back,” said Collingwood.
In his innings against South Africa A, he hit 15 sixes while facing a South African bowling attack that featured four bowlers who have been capped by South Africa in ODIs. After smashing the bowlers out of the park, his bowling did the magic – returning with figures of 3/51.
“Stokes could’ve won England the World Cup”
Collingwood, who is captain of County side Durham, described his County teammate's innings as ‘something special’.
Collingwood said, “The thing that frustrates me is that England were batting him in the number eight position.
“If you're going play him, you've got to play him in the right position – whether that be four, five or six – and allow him to win games from that position.
“You've got a guy here who – if he came good – he could've won you the World Cup. He could have won three or four games. By himself.”
I’ve proved I can get runs up the order: Stokes
Stokes accepted that the series in Sri Lanka didn’t work out, but hopes that he is given a chance higher up in the order..
He said, “I didn't come here with a point to prove to anyone. I just came here to make my game better and I think it's worked.
“I've been working hard on giving myself a chance to get in and try to make that big score. Every cricketer has his day and I think today was mine.
“Things didn't go well in Sri Lanka, which had a big impact in World Cup selection, but I've been given a chance at five and hopefully, later down the line, I've proved I can get some runs up the order.”