Is Ben Stokes Hampering England's Chances Of World T20 Glory?

The Test captain simply doesn't have a great T20 record
10:20, 27 Oct 2022

Whisper it softly… Is Ben Stokes hampering England’s chances of World T20 glory? With Jos Buttler’s boys needing a near-perfect run to land the coveted crown after Wednesday's shock defeat to minnows Ireland, Stokes’ role in the side could be jeopardising England’s hopes of lifting the trophy. 

You’d have the superstar in for his spectacular fielding alone, as demonstrated by his incredible feat of athleticism which sent social media into a frenzy in the warm-ups, but he has frustratingly failed to fire with the bat since landing Down Under.

It’s a problem which has plagued England’s rockstar during his international T20 career. His numbers simply do not befit the class of player we know the talisman is. When he hit his maiden hundred in just his second Test on the infamous 2013-14 Ashes tour we knew he was a star attraction in the making. 

Most of England’s biggest moments in the past few years can be attributed to Stokes’ sheer brilliance. The summer of 2019 will live long in the memory as the larger-than-life character almost single-handedly kept his country in the 50-over World Cup, with 473 runs, and then steered them to victory in the Super Over in the famous final against New Zealand.


His Headingley heroics to keep that summer’s home Ashes series alive and his bludgeoning 2016 Test best 198-ball 258 against South Africa at Newlands were two of the best innings you are ever likely to witness for very different reasons.

You could sell tickets for a highlight reel of Stokes’ best bits, but his most memorable T20 moment came in the 2016 final when he was smashed for four successive sixes as Carlos Brathwaite led West Indies to their second World T20 triumph. 

This time around Stokes has been pigeonholed into opening the bowling so England can squeeze him into the startling line-up. He has performed admirably in the new-found role, but it was a decision which left many pondering whether he was picked for the job or if the role was devised to fit the Durham ace in. 

But his responsibility is scoring runs in the middle order and his explosive best has been missing. Stokes’ distinct lack of form at number four has left England with a huge conundrum. Do they drop their Test captain? 


If you discount the behind-closed-doors friendly against Pakistan, which was forgotten long before it started, then Stokes has scored 46 runs from as many balls at a dismal average of just 11.50 since returning to the T20 side for the first time in 19 months.

Stokes’ cavalier approach to Test batting since taking over the captaincy at the start of the summer would usually suit the style needed to prosper in the shortest format. 

But it’s a format he has failed to crack on the international stage. His disappointing T20i career batting average of 18.57 with only two scores over 40 from 33 innings hardly brings confidence that fire-starter Stokes will eventually come to life in this tournament. 

Earlier this summer, Stokes retired from the 50-over format to prioritise Test and T20 cricket for England. Some think he should have turned his back on white-ball cricket altogether. 

As they say: cometh the hour, cometh the man. Stokes has always thrived on the biggest stages with the cards stacked against him. And how much England would love their magic man to conjure up his match-winning brilliance sooner rather than later. Big decisions could be made as Buttler tries to resurrect his side’s stalling World Cup charge before it’s too late. The purpose-built batting order are yet to hit top gear and bigger challenges await in the form of Australia and New Zealand. 

And England desperately need to rediscover their mojo fast if they are to avoid crashing and burning at the Super 12s stage. Friday’s game against defending champions Australia is huge in the context of the tournament with the loser all but certain to be unceremoniously dumped out before the knockout phase. The hosts were blown away in the Super 12s curtain-raiser against brilliant New Zealand and needed powerhouse Marcus Stoinis to smash the second-quickest ever World T20 fifty to beat Sri Lanka and keep their title hopes alive. 


England will be full of confidence after beating their oldest foes 2-0 in their three-game warm-up and they were well on their way to a clean sweep before rain intervened in the final outing.

But a less-than-perfect opening victory against Afghanistan and being outplayed by Andy Balbirnie’s Ireland has left Buttler’s side with their backs against the wall. It’s a position they have found themselves in before after group-stage defeats to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia left the pre-tournament favourites on the verge of crashing out before they turned their faltering fortunes around to secure a famous global gong three years ago. And it’s a challenge England’s line-up, which is littered with potential match-winners, will face head on. 

Captain Buttler said: "There are a lot of experienced cricketers in our dressing room who would have been set back at certain times in their career—whether it be the 2019 World Cup, a franchise tournament or before in international cricket. 

”So certainly guys who understand how to deal with the emotions of great disappointment like against Ireland, have to deal with it. There's no point trying to hide away from the feelings you have. You've got to deal with those very quickly, get over it and look forward to the Australia game."


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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