Cricket Opinion

Is this Australia’s best chance at a sub-continent victory?

Australia will embark on nine Tests against sub-continent teams this southern hemisphere winter, playing three away to Pakistan, two to Sri Lanka and the crown jewel in such an environment – four Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There is also a single historic Test scheduled to be played against Afghanistan in India before the series against India itself gets underway.

India and Pakistan away from home has been a mountain which Australia have simply been unable to overcome over the years, failing to win series more often than they haven’t. 

In fact, while Sri Lanka have had some slip ups at home against the men from down under, Australia have won just 15 out of their last 71 Tests on the sub continent, and 9 out of 55 against India and Pakistan, losing 27 of those.

It means there will be serious value to be found at Neds when it comes to backing Australia to fall over the line when they take on Pakistan in the first of these three tours. 

But Australia can’t be written off, despite their lack of success against teams on pitches that can often be described as “dustbowls.”

That isn’t always the case in Pakistan, and hasn’t been in the last couple of years however, with quick bowlers doing plenty of damage for both Pakistan and opposition touring teams since tours resumed to the nation for the first time in more than a decade.

Pakistan are hard to beat at home – of that there can be no doubt.

But Australia are a strong side who are improving in these conditions. Last time against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, they held on for a famous draw and have only gotten since then. The green and gold have some of the world’s best players against spin in the shape of David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, while it’s fair to say Usman Khawaja has also improved that department of his game out of sight in the last couple of years, provided of course he is kept at the top of the order.

More than that though, it’s the bowling attack where it could be argued Australia have made the greatest strides forward in these conditions.

Nathan Lyon is now one of the greatest off-spinners of all-time, but on top of that, he is receiving substantial competition from Mitchell Swepson, who has lit up domestic cricket over the past 24 months. On top of that, the reverse swing exploits of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins continue to strengthen, while competition for pace bowling spots will come heavily from Melbourne Boxing Day debutant Scott Boland and Jhye Richardson.

It’s an attack with enormous depth, and given the lack of runs Australia have so often experienced on the sub-continent may not also be someway towards being taken care of, it’s going to be difficult to write off a team who just bombed England out of the Ashes with a 4-0 series win, which was just a single wicket away from being 5-0.

Pakistan recently got the better of Bangladesh in a Test series, but that doesn’t say all that much for the side against another sub-continent opposition in that part of the world.

Australia bring with them a new challenge, and while the history is against Justin Langer’s side, logic says they are more than just a half chance.

Cricket Opinion Players

Will England’s poor form minimise Joe Root’s incredible legacy?

There must be times when Joe Root, standing at the non-striker’s end, feels a burning sense of frustration while watching his teammates get skittled cheaply yet again. 

The Yorkshireman will never admit it, but given he’s only human after all, you can be certain that the lack of application from his colleagues in cricket’s longest format leaves him feeling exasperated. 

To put it in perspective, Root has notched up a whopping 1244 runs in 2021, which is three times more than any other England batsman has managed over the course of the year so far. 

Indeed, Rory Burns is second on the list with a rather paltry 363 runs. Unsurprisingly, this lack of support for Root has seen England struggle in the Test arena in 2021 with a disappointing loss at home to New Zealand being the latest in a serially underwhelming run of results. 

This now leaves the ECB having to face up to the prospect of overhauling the Test side in an Ashes year, which is far from ideal. Indeed, you’re asking for trouble if you try to send the next generation of England’s cricketers to the fast pitches of Australia to play in front of the most hostile crowds in the world.

It’s naturally no surprise then to see the Australians as the favourites at 11/25 odds to win the Ashes in the latest cricket betting markets and should that happen, you do begin to fear for Root’s legacy as an England captain. 

After all, this would then be the second time Root has failed to win the Ashes as captain after the Australians managed to draw the 2019 series, which meant that they successfully retained the urn. Given that Root is now likely to oversee two Ashes’ disappointments, it’s easy to picture a scenario where his record as captain overshadows his remarkable achievements with the bat. 

Regrettably, that’s how cricket history is remembered, through numbers, but then this also offers the 30-year-old a chance to leave his mark on the game. If Root is to safeguard his legacy, then he’ll have to eclipse Sir Alastair Cook’s 12472 runs, which makes him currently England’s highest ever run-scorer in the Test arena. 

Encouragingly, Root went to second on the list during the second Test match against India at Lord’s and now sits on 9067, so you would imagine that if he was to notch up another 3406 runs, his legacy wouldn’t be tarnished by England’s poor form over the last 12 months. 

Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better for England when you consider how much work this side ultimately needs to do before they can begin holding their own in the Test arena again. Batting for England may still be a lonely experience for Root in the years to come, but should he keep scoring at the rate he is, then all of his brilliance at the crease won’t have gone to waste.

Cricket Opinion

The Potential Of Steve Smith: The Next Australian Cricket Superstar in the Making?

Every sports discipline in history has produced their own specific sets of iconic figures.

These names that become renowned in households across the planet have achieved this status as they are the ones that redefine what it means to excel.

We understand what Tiger Woods means to the game of golf, just as we are aware of what Usain Bolt represents in the world of athletics. But in the history of Australian Cricket, much of the story remains unwritten.

With his individual idiosyncrasies and his sublime strokeplay, could Steve Smith carve his way into the summer game’s pantheon by the time the sun sets on his career?

The peerless contender

You could compare Smith’s performance to the likes of Virat Kohli, but when one considers Smith’s skills in comparison to his peers, the New South Welshman remains unmatched.

Of course, it’s impossible to give it context to ‘Smudge’s’ greatness without also mentioning Don Bradman, the undisputed legend of Australian cricket. One could very well say that Steve Smith is second only to him. And let’s be honest, that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Smith’s performance

Smith is one of the finest Test batsmen to have ever graced Australian cricket. He averages an impressive 64.56 from 68 Tests – which is the second most by any cricketer that has played 20 tests or more.

The only other name that currently comes close is Kohli, with an average of 53.14.

But what is it that is keeping Smith from soaring in the stratosphere with some of the game’s past stars?

For starters, he has shown to have trouble maintaining his form. On top of that, a whole year of his career was eliminated due to suspension.

However, keep in mind that Smith is still relatively young – the former captain only turned 32 this June – meaning he has a lengthy portion of his career still ahead of him. Therefore, there is a view that his full potential is yet to be seen.

The work of a batsman is never easy.


The next Ricky Ponting?

With a Test average of 51.85 over the course of his international career, Ricky Ponting is without doubt one of the greatest cricketers to ever pull on a baggy green cap.

However, since Ponting spends his days commentating or quaffing fine wines these days, his achievements are simpler to assess.

On the other hand, Smith’s career is still well and truly alive and kicking. For this reason, it is impossible to give an accurate assessment of where he’ll stand before stumps are called on his career.

One thing is for sure, if Smith keeps up his current pace, then chances are he will surpass Ponting’s overall statistics.

A big black mark on Smith’s reputation

With that being said, Smith’s reputation is not without stains either.

Remember the ball tampering events taking place in South Africa in March 2018? This resulted in receiving a year long ban from competing. Although he is not the first to have done so, he did cheat. And as the old adage goes, cheaters never prosper.

Not only did Smith let down the fans, he dragged Cricket’s good name down with him (or at least a sizable portion of it). Whether this alone is enough to put the game in a state of crisis, is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure – love him or hate him, he has made a name for himself and everyone recognizes him to be one of the greatest.

He can reach the lowest of lows and always finds a way to rise back from the ashes – or as proven 2019, ‘for the ashes’ as well.

Other batsmen can only fantasize about achieving half of what he already has under his belt, and when we remember that we haven’t seen the last of him, his peers and opponents are set to be daydreaming for many summers to come.


Steve Smith stands tall as one of the greatest Test batsmen of all time, second only to Don Bradman – that much remains undisputed.

A much better question, on the other hand, is this – who deserves to claim the title of the third best?

I guess we will see in due time.

As always, keep your eyes peeled on the bbl live score 2021 to keep yourself up-to-date on everything cricket-related. And don’t forget to stay in tune with more content on Australian cricket as we publish it.

Cricket News Cricket Opinion

Could Major League Cricket boost the sport’s popularity in the US?

Sport is a huge part of American culture, whether it’s playing, competing or spectating, people in the United States spend a good chunk of their time enjoying sports games and competitions in some way. While sports such as football, baseball, basketball night receive the most airtime on live TV channels and news shows, cricket is one other sport that is once again finding its heading toward the media spotlight.

Cricket first became popular in the United States in the 1700s, where it was regularly played for fun and competition in locations such as Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, and Boston. By the middle of the next century, over 1,000 cricket clubs had been set up across the country.

However, around the time of the Civil War, baseball had overtaken cricket in terms of popularity due to it being a favourite game amongst soldiers at the time. The trend continued over the years and by the early 1900s cricket was pretty much non-existent across the states.

Popularity of Cricket across the world

Cricket players and spectator figures have improved somewhat since this time but still lags behind many other sports. It is now far more popular in other countries like India, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sri Lanka.

Worldwide, cricket is actually the second most popular sport and has a following of up to 2.5 billion people. However, in the United States people continue to pay more attention to big league games and competition, including the National Football League and Major League Soccer.

Fans of these sports often enjoy placing sports bets on league competitions. As more and more states continue to legalise sports betting and online sports betting, the choice of betting options and operators continues to grow in the country.

Development of the MLC

It is likely that soon fans of cricket will be placing wagers on their favourite teams thanks to the development of the new Major League Cricket, which has been modelled on other domestic cricket competitions like the Indian Premier League. Major League Cricket was founded in 2019 and is preparing to be launched some time in 2022.

Within the MLC, there will be six franchise teams. One team has been confirmed as being located in Dallas, and other teams are likely to be based in New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco, as there is already a small market for the sport in these places.

The launch of Major League Cricket all forms part of the USA Cricket’s foundational plan which aims to increase the popularity of cricket amongst American citizens and improve the playing standard of its national team.

Before the Major League kicks off next year the Minor League Cricket will act as a developmental league and will play their competition this year. The Minor League consists of 24 teams that are all privately owned franchises.

The overall target of this process is for USA Cricket to achieve full membership status by the International Cricket Council on or before the year 2030. As part of these ambitious plans, the AirHogs Stadium in Texas is set to receive a $10 million dollar facelift to prefer it to become a venue solely hosting cricket matches.

But who is behind these plans to revolutionise the cricket industry in the United States?

There are some very well-known faces in the business world that are backing the expansion of cricket in the country, one such business leader is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Nadella is behind Microsoft’s plans to extend its campus in Washington to include a professional quality cricket pitch.

Other supporters from big name technology brands include Sundar Pichai from Google and Indra Nooyi from Pepsi. Even famous individuals within the entertainment industry are encouraging the development of cricket in the United States, with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan investing in the Major League Cricket’s Los Angeles Knight Riders.

Even with all of the public support, there is still no guarantee that cricket is about to take off in America. There are still a number of obstacles that the MLC must work through in the medium and long term to ensure their success.

One main focus for the new MLC teams will be to secure the right talent to play at such a high level. It is also important that this talent is fairly evenly distributed so that all six teams have the ability to compete well.

One huge benefit of the development of Major League Cricket is the increased investment and development opportunities that will make its way to youth cricket clubs in the country. New talent programmes will be put in place to harness and grow the skills and abilities of younger players, helping to ensure the longevity of the sport.

While there is already a good fan base for cricket in the United States, the development of Major League Cricket is a huge opportunity for the sport and will hopefully increase the amount of attention and investment that cricket receives exponentially over the next few years.

Cricket Opinion

Elite Cricket Players Discuss Changes in the Game

Quinton de Kock is a professional South African cricketer who took some break following the lockdown.

He believes that before the start of the tournament, he will be entirely ready to get back in the game. De Kock adds that there is sufficient time for him to resume his normal swing of things. However, it will be more challenging to prepare for the unfamiliar circumstances impacting the matches.

Moving the tournament from UAE to India implies a fundamental change in the nature of the competition. Whereas organizers proceed to work towards filling the stands to nearly fifty percent capacity, some matches may be played indoors. International cricket players must start getting used to playing in the presence of smaller crowds for the foreseeable future. This will be highly evident in the IPL this year since the exciting atmosphere often associated with Indian cricket game will be lacking.

Quinton de Kock notes that everyone will miss the feeling that comes with this atmosphere. Typically, the professional cricketer notes that each game is fully packed. However, de Kock stated that the presence or absence of a crowd does not bother him. Though the player believes he can do without the feeling of being in the stadium, he admits to missing the experience.

Rabada, another cricket player from South Africa, agreed that despite the sterilized setup, the quality of the game would be at an all-time high. He further remarked that it was interesting seeing the global cricket in England. The cricketer believes that at the end of the day, you like cricket due to the skill regardless of the crowds. Being a professional player, Rabada focuses on his skills, which ought to be entertaining people.

Whether the crowd is present or not, the players will be relishing the opportunity to prove their superiority over the others. Every cricketer will show their full potential since they are passionate about what they do. Rabada remarked that they are yet to know if the hype surrounding the game will be the same. Nonetheless, from a competitive standpoint, Rabada is convinced that everything will remain the same.

He believes that the flow of these competitive juices will be crucial, especially in the competition. Only the most courageous players will run into a bowl alongside the biggest stars in India, such as MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, with the wild crowd against you. Luckily, Rabada is the sort of player who relishes such competitions. Rabada mentioned that playing against players such as Dhoni and Kohli in front of incredible crowds is a precious moment.

It is difficult to explain as both parties want to prove a point to each other. Watching the way the crowd supports those cricketers offers an opportunity that you cannot undervalue. It is exciting, and your adrenaline kicks in and keeps you going. A-list sportspeople can find their inspiration from different things. It is unsurprising that de Kock takes on a different perspective. Whereas Rabada is famous for being an emotional cricket player, his captain likes to keep out the noise to concentrate on the task at hand.

Rabada says he sees them just like any other person. He acknowledged that they are big players in India. However, Rabada believes they all own a badge and are focused on the same goal. It is only logical that someone who has taken such responsibility in the field has figured out how to ease the pressure. Having always merged the duties of a crucial batsman with putting on the gloves as a wicket-keeper, Kagiso Rabada has, in the recent past, taken over as the white-ball captain of South Africa. Balancing those two disciplines for South Africa and Mumbai, together with his latest leadership position, can be viewed as a challenging prospect. Rabada has never found this to be a challenge. He has been batting and keeping his entire life and, in the process, found himself managing all these tasks. This time it’s no different as he has not been requested to bowl. If Rabada became the South African’s Test captain, then that would be challenging.

It would have presented him with a significant amount of responsibilities. However, he is perfectly content as a white-ball captain. Rabada has done this before during the Under-19 level. Following the most extended break from their careers, professional cricketers are immediately positioned for a swift change from no games to lots of them. Consequently, it can be those with that sort of adaptability and even temperament that do exceptionally well.

Interview conducted by Betway.

Cricket Opinion

How Was Cricket Invented?

Cricket is one of the world’s most beloved sports. Simple on the surface yet tactical and requiring patience, it’s grown to be a fan favourite across the globe.

Nowadays, you can choose from a vast range of markets on cricket at Sportsbet, covering everything from sixes to wickets. But behind this now-modern sport is a rich history steeped in tradition and heritage.

While many see it as a typically British game that’s lasted generations, cricket can be traced back through many different time periods, all of which have had some effect on its development.

Early versions of cricket

Historians have often traced back cricket’s origins to rural England, with the 13th or 14th century providing painting and drawings that depicted people playing a bat and ball game that held many similarities to the sport.

In its early form, villagers would simply use a gate as what would later be known as the wicket and use a thick branch or stick as the bat. It’s believed a stone was the first projectile used as a means to try to hit the gate.

It wasn’t until the 17th century that counties, grammar schools and farm communities began playing the game with clear rules, a weighted ball and a carved-out bat that could be manipulated to play different kinds of shots.

During this century, batting took on much more precedence than bowling, with the main aim being to hit as many runs as you could.

Rules and betting

As we can see in our modern world, cricket and sports betting are closely tied. This relationship dates back to the mid-18th century when the emergence of betting within the game was key to the sport introducing set rules and regulations.

When cricket grew in popularity, the upper class and nobles of England saw it as an opportunity to place high-stakes bets on who would come out on top as the winner in each county.

With serious money being incorporated into the game, early cricketing authorities – known then as ‘Star and Garter Club’, came up with clear rules to make the game more defined. These included additions such as LBW, a third stump and a stamp on the maximum width a bat could be.

The very first established ‘professional’ fixture was the inaugural clash of two of the most famous academic institutions in the country – Eton and Harrow.

Technique development

Until the 19th century, the focus of the game was largely on batting, with bowlers throwing the ball underarm. Until this time, they had the freedom to throw high, low or as fast as they liked – but this changed when a new rule was introduced in 1864.

The governing body at the time saw it fit to level the playing field and take some of the focus off of batting and require more precision and skill when bowling. That year, they introduced the rule that bowlers must throw the ball overhand.

This drastically changed the outlook of cricket, as no longer were batsmen merely testing their hitting power and enjoying directing the ball where they wanted. They now had to compete with balls coming at them as fast as 90mph and bouncing off the green in front of them.

As a result, it became commonplace for batsmen to protect themselves with padding and helmets, which was later enforced across the board as a rule.

New competitions

As cricket grew, so did the culture surrounding it. Cricket fields, which have since become historic, were perfected to provide the best surface for play and official bodies were set up to organise tournaments.

Universities gave way to county and club cricket, with professional players making names for themselves across the 19th and 20th centuries.

As cricket grew slower and more methodical in its approach, crowd engagement began to lessen, so officials decided to introduce new competitions and formats that were more appealing to those not looking to watch test series that spanned multiple days.

One-day knockout tournaments, both domestic and international, began drawing in larger crowds, while the appeal of Twenty20 cricket meant the sport had multiple ways to impose itself on the world stage.

Cricket, as we know it now, has had a long and complex history with many changes. It’s a testament to its appeal, however, that despite so many revisions it still stands as one of the world’s favourite games.

Cricket Opinion

The Future of Cricket in India

If nothing else, cricket has proven to be an adaptable sport that continues to reinvent itself and to hold appeal to new fans.

The last couple of years in particular, punctuated by the acceptance of T20, have confirmed that the future of cricket will involve plenty of strategic and technical evolution.

This is indeed true of cricket in India also. With a rich history about to celebrate its 300th anniversary, the relationship between cricket and the country of India is full of interesting events, characters, and developments. Here are a few things that we can expect to see unfold as cricket in India transitions into its next phase.

Financial incentives will only increase

If you’ve spent any time on the India cricket website, you’ll appreciate how quickly speed and efficiency are changing the way that the game is played. With more dynamic and engaging resources available for fans online, it is safe to say that the number of cricket followers will continue growing and the sport will garner more and more media attention.

This means bigger sponsorship deals and more pressure on teams, players, coaches, and management to generate winning results.

A shift towards more specialization

With the likes of T20 and Test cricket gaining more traction in India, there will need to be an increasingly clear distinction between the different formats of this great sport. As fans and players alike become smart to the subtleties that make these iterations of the game so different, the separation will become more pronounced and players will have to decide what format is being suited to their skills and career ambitions.

Players will have to pick a side

This move towards specialization will also mean that some of the sport’s greatest talents will have to decide where to invest their effort as they are likely to find less success in a cross-format approach.

Whether that means mastering new skills or refining existing ones, even the likes of Ravindra Jadeja are going to have to double down on their signature abilities. This will also present opportunities for new players to emerge as stars, as the focus shifts away from all-rounders.

T20 might just be what takes cricket all the way to the Olympics

It has been over a hundred years since a game of cricket was staged at the Olympic games, but the time might soon again be right for the world’s top cricket players to battle it out at this prestigious event. With T20 offering a shorter and more Olympic-friendly version of the sport, it is not surprising to see certain powerful members of the cricket community once again campaigning for its inclusion.

More exposure for women’s cricket

If cricket does indeed make the leap to becoming an Olympic event, this could mean that the Women in Blue would be getting a whole lot more exposure. In a similar way to how rugby has enjoyed an uptick in popularity since it rejoined the Olympics in 2009, the same trajectory could be true of women’s cricket.

Cricket Opinion

England rout means there will be no quick fix for Proteas

Cricket in South Africa is synonymous with the hot African summer. In fact, nothing says that the summer has arrived like sitting on the grass embankment under the oaks during the Boxing Day test match. The prevailing North Easterly off the Indian Ocean brings with it the chance to cool down but also serves as a reminder that the holidays are indeed here.

Despite how picturesque a setting South Africa can be over December, it doesn’t guarantee that the action on the park will match the serenity off it. All things considered, the 2019/2020 summer series against England has been a disaster for the Proteas after they suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of an English team that exposed their glaring weaknesses.

The Proteas were outplayed in all departments and sadly so were their fans as the Barmy Army outnumbered and outsang them throughout the four-test series. It certainly was a series to forget with the biggest lesson being that there won’t be any quick fixes for the Proteas under new head coach Mark Boucher.

It looked like there may be after South Africa got off to a rip-roaring start at Centurion and ended up winning the first Test, but that feeling of euphoria quickly evaporated as the weeks went by. Instead, Boucher and his coaching staff have been left to pick up the pieces as they get acquainted with the size of the task at hand, it is no doubt much bigger than they initially expected with South African cricket reeling after years of mismanagement.

There was, however, a lot of goodwill around the appointment of Mark Boucher and that won’t dry up anytime soon with the cricketing public in South Africa convinced that he is the right man to bring back the days when the Proteas dominated world cricket. Boucher’s next challenge will be the T20 World Cup where his side are well behind favourites Australia, who are 11/4 to win in cricket betting. Indeed, at 13/2, no one is too sure what to expect from a South African team that is in a race against time to make up for a disastrous few years off the field of play.

The bottom line is that the T20 World Cup in October could once again be too soon for the Proteas but the nature of T20 cricket may assist a side that has to rely on a bit of luck from time to time. The news that AB de Villiers could return for the playing of the tournament will also be a massive bonus for the country. De Villiers has the ability to win a game on his own and there will be a certain trepidation amongst the opposition if he is indeed on the plane to Australia.

Whilst there won’t be any magic bullet for South African cricket, they are on the right road again after straying into the wilderness some years ago. The right man is in charge and the next time England arrive on South African shores in four years time, they will be sure to face a team that is unrecognisable from the one they just played.

Cricket Opinion

What Makes Ben Stokes One of England’s Greatest Ever All-Rounders?

The world of English cricket has seen many marvellous talents over the years but, following his incredible test-winning innings at Headingley to level The Ashes, you have to ask the question of whether Ben Stokes is England’s greatest ever all-rounder. After producing a once-in-a-lifetime display in which he hit 135 not out, it would certainly be impossible to not put the 28-year-old’s name in the conversation.

As a result of that, we’re going to take a look at what makes Ben Stokes so special, along with also considering whether he is the greatest all-rounder to ever grace English cricket.

What’s Special About Stokes?

DSC04088” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland

Prior to his England debut in 2011, Stokes was catching the eye at youth level after hitting an 88-ball century against India in the 2010 Under-19s World Cup. Since then, and many years on, the all-rounder has continued to develop his game and, as a result, has since become an integral part of the England setup. However, what stands out most about the Englishman’s Headingley innings, and his batting in general, is his new-found ability to judge scenarios.

In his first 73 balls at the crease, he scored just three runs. Yet as the anticipation and pressure began to build, so did Stokes’ determination to win as he hit home 74 runs in his final 45 balls. The control of his display was there for all to see as it took him 83 balls to reach double figures, which is the slowest since Ian Salisbury in Calcutta some 26 years ago. Following his recent heroics, the Christchurch-born star has climbed to number two in the ICC Test all-rounder rankings and because of that good form, and although England failed to reclaim The Ashes, they are now 6/4 with cricket betting to win the fifth Test at The Oval.  

Where Does He Rank Among the All-Time Greats?

Ben Stokes strides on his way back to hi” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland

There can be no doubts that English cricket fans have been able to witness some phenomenal all-rounders with the likes of Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff gracing the field in years gone by. Although their impacts on the sport will never be forgotten, there’s an argument to be made that Headingley has seen Stokes match, if not surpass, the legacy of those before him. Even though he may not statistically reach the same levels as those before him, no other all-rounder has delivered match-winning performances in games of such high importance.

While the 28-year-old demonstrated his batting prowess in his second international Test match by scoring a century in Perth back in 2013, Stokes’ fielding ability is also vital to his success in the modern game. Although Botham and Flintoff were both better bowlers, England’s latest cricketing hero has the edge in the fielding department. While it may be his batting that has most recently caught the eye, it mustn’t be forgotten that Stokes has amassed a total of 329 catches throughout his international career.

A Legacy-Defining Summer

It’s without debate that world-class all-rounders have been hard to come by within English cricket, but Botham, Flintoff, and Stokes have all produced unforgettable moments. While the debate will go on about the greatest ever, the magnitude of the 28-year-old’s most inspiring performances certainly places him in good stead to claim that title.

Cricket Opinion

Greatest cricketing nicknames of all time

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: Australian batsman Ricky Ponting celebrates scoring his century against the West Indies on the first day of the first Test Match being played at the Gabba, in Brisbane 03 November 2005. Batting first, Australia is 215-4 at tea. AFP PHOTO/William WEST/Getty Images

There’s something about cricketers that makes it next to impossible for them to use each other’s real names. Yet while simply adding “y” or “ers” to a name is commonplace (Smithy, Tuffers and so on) some truly imaginative nicknames have emerged in the middle over the years. Here are some that are certain to raise a smile.

Ashley Giles

There were those who said Ashley Giles’ long career as England’s number one spinner said more about the paucity of alternative talent than anything else. Yet while he never pretended to be anything other than a reliable, solid off break bowler, his habit of picking up extraordinary nicknames was legendary. When his county team Warwickshire ordered promotional memorabilia with the words King of Spin for his benefit year, a mistake by the printers resulted in him being hailed the King of Spain. Of course, the nickname stuck, only to be surpassed by veteran broadcaster Henry Blofeld comparing his appearance to that of a wheelie bin.

Ricky Ponting

Punter Ponting is not just great alliteration, but also refers to the former skipper’s love of a wager. Cricket and sports betting are topics that do not always go hand in hand, but Ponting, along with contemporaries like Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, steered clear of his own sport and would favour avenues like unibet au to back the horses or the greyhounds.

Harbhajan Singh

As the lone Sikh in the India team at the turn of the millennium, turban-wearing Harbhajan Singh was an unmistakable figure out in the middle. But it was during Australia’s tour to India in 2001 that he acquired his nickname. In the second test, Singh destroyed Australia almost single handed, taking 13 wickets, and he went still better with 15 in the third test. Australian newspapers reported on how he had “terminated” the Australia innings time and again, and the name Turbanator soon followed.

Mark Waugh

If he’d been born into any other family, Mark Waugh’s record of 8,000 test runs at an average of over 40 would leave him with nothing more to prove. But of course, the comparisons with twin brother Steve are inevitable. When he greeted England’s James Ormand at the crease with the words “What are you doing here? There’s no way you’re good enough to play test cricket,” Ormand’s reply of “At least I’m the best player in my family” had both teams in stitches. Mark’s family circumstances also led to the intriguing and politically-edged nickname Afghan – or “the forgotten Waugh.”

Trevor Bailey

Modern day cricket enthusiasts will remember Trevor Bailey’s gravelly tones as a guest commentator and summariser on the radio in the 1990s. But back in the 1950s, he was known as Barnacle Bailey for his immense stickability out in the middle. The all-rounder was an immovable object in England’s middle order, and got his team out of many a tight spot with a solid and resolute forward defence. In the 1958/59 Ashes series, he blocked his way into history with a 357 minute half-century, the slowest ever in first class cricket.