Ben Stokes ‘in the conversation’ to be considered England’s best ever cricketer, says Jos Buttler

Ben Stokes ‘in the conversation’ to be considered England’s best ever cricketer, says Jos Buttler

Ben Stokes is “in the conversation” to be England’s greatest cricketer of all-time after inspiring another World Cup triumph on Sunday.

That is the view of captain Jos Buttler, whose side yesterday made history by adding the T20 World Cup to the 50-over crown won in 2019, becoming the first men’s team to hold both titles at the same time.

In the 2019 final at Lord’s, Stokes had been England’s hero, named player of the match after keeping the game alive with an unbeaten 84 and then batting alongside Buttler in the dramatic Super Over.

In Melbourne yesterday, on a tricky surface he did it again, a determined, unbeaten half-century - Stokes’ first in T20I cricket - seeing England home by five wickets after some fine bowling had restricted Pakistan to 137 for eight.

"He always stands up in the biggest moments," Buttler said. "He’s a man who can take a lot of pressure on his shoulders and perform. With him in the middle, you know you’ve got a good chance.

"He’s a true match-winner and he’s been there in those scenarios time and time again. He just has a lot of know-how for how to do that.

"It certainly wasn’t his most fluent innings or he probably didn’t time the ball as well as he can, but we knew he was never going to go down without a fight and stand up and be there at the end.

"We’re immensely lucky to have him, he’s one of the great players of English cricket and he can be in the conversation for sure [to be regarded as England’s greatest cricketer of all-time].”

Six years ago, the T20 World Cup ended in heartbreak for Stokes after his final over against the West Indies was hit for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite as the trophy slipped away.

The all-rounder has since established himself as England’s talisman across all three formats, with Test exploits to rank alongside his World Cup final epics, most notably against Australia at Headingley during the 2019 Ashes.

‘Just amazing’ - Buttler could not speak highly enough of Stokes (AFP via Getty Images)
‘Just amazing’ - Buttler could not speak highly enough of Stokes (AFP via Getty Images)

This summer, Stokes led a transformation of England red-ball fortunes after replacing Joe Root as captain under Brendon McCullum, while a documentary released earlier this year titled ‘Phoenix from the Ashes’ charted the 31-year-old’s rollercoaster career, including his mental health struggles and the aftermath of the infamous incident outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017 - though Buttler joked yesterday it had been released too soon.

"It’s an amazing story, really," Buttler said. "It’s a shame he did his documentary a year early. He could have added that in. He’s been on an amazing journey, all these big moments.

"He’s obviously never let that 2016 final push him back. You think of the things he’s gone on to achieve in his career since then, it’s just amazing."