Ashes 2023: England considers Ben Stokes as an opener against Australia

Ashes 2023: England mulls Stokes as opener

According to a report published in a renowned British newspaper, the England think-tank is currently engaged in extensive deliberations regarding the potential promotion of their esteemed captain, Ben Stokes, to the prestigious opening position in the highly anticipated Ashes series.

This significant consideration has emerged as a direct result of the mounting concerns surrounding Stokes’ physical condition, which may impose restrictions on his bowling capabilities during the upcoming Test matches against their long-standing rivals this summer. Recent reports indicate that Stokes is presently grappling with a left knee injury, thereby casting a shadow of doubt over his availability for the much-anticipated series set to commence on June 16.

The aforementioned report, as disclosed by The Times, offers valuable insights into Stokes’ recent bowling activity. Surprisingly, he has only managed to deliver a solitary over in the ongoing season of the illustrious Indian Premier League. This marginal contribution to the game occurred during the inaugural match of IPL 2023 on March 31. Since then, Stokes has been conspicuously absent from the cricketing arena, with his last appearance on the field dating back to April 3. Stephen Fleming, the esteemed head coach of the Chennai Super Kings, openly acknowledged the all-rounder’s current struggle with his bowling prowess, describing it as a “somewhat challenging” endeavor.

Furthermore, the report goes on to suggest that if Stokes finds himself unable to actively participate in the bowling department, the England cricket team would inevitably find themselves in dire need of an additional fast bowler to compensate for his absence. This glaring requirement would consequently necessitate the reconfiguration of the batting lineup, with the potential displacement of Zak Crawley from his existing role.

It is worth noting that Crawley, despite his talent, has encountered a protracted period of difficulty in finding his form while playing on home soil. His average since the inception of 2021 stands at a meager 18.33, and to compound matters, he has failed to register a single half-century in his previous eight Test innings.

Within the realm of cricketing conjecture, it is widely speculated that in the event of Stokes being entrusted with the responsibility of opening the batting, the highly skilled Chris Woakes hailing from Warwickshire would emerge as the favored candidate to fill the consequential void as the team’s fourth seamer.

Meanwhile, the distinguished Australian cricketing legend Allan Border has chosen to voice his reservations regarding the potential utilization of Stokes as an opening batsman, categorizing it as an audacious and, in his own words, a “significant gamble.” During an insightful discussion on Fox Cricket, Border artfully illuminated Stokes’ exceptional cricketing prowess and his well-documented capability of influencing the outcome of matches from various strategic positions on the field. In particular, Border placed a great deal of emphasis on Stokes’ invaluable contributions within the lower order during the riveting 2019 Ashes series. 

In the light of these factors, Border expressed his well-founded concerns about the potential repercussions of tampering with Stokes’ established batting position, underscoring the all-rounder’s remarkable proficiency in batting alongside the tail-enders and his remarkable adaptability to the demands of diverse game situations. 

Border astutely argued that thrusting Stokes into the challenging role of opening the batting, which would expose him to the early onslaught of the new ball, may prove to be a formidable task given his limited experience in that particular role. Consequently, Border cogently concluded that such a strategic maneuver would undoubtedly constitute a risky endeavor, fraught with uncertainties and potential setbacks.

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