ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Mike Hussey picks Ben Stokes to be Player of the tournament

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Mike Hussey picks Ben Stokes to be Player of the tournament

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SportsCafe Desk

05/25/2017

Former Australia batsman Mike Hussey expects England all-rounder Ben Stokes to carry his scintillating IPL form into next month's Champions Trophy at home and emerge as the Player of the tournament. Firm favourites England will take on Bangladesh in the opening game on June 1 at the Oval.

Stokes was adjudged MVP of IPL-10, as he scored 316 runs and took 12 wickets for Rising Pune Supergiant before missing the playoffs due to national duty. 

The 25-year-old, bought for a whopping Rs 14.5 crore at the February player auction, proved himself worthy of the price tag as he bagged three man of the match awards in 12 outings.

"I feel like his batting has improved immeasurably, he’s now starting to really work it out,” Hussey told Cricket Australia website. "And with experience, he’s getting better as a short-form bowler as well, he’s more confident in his own ability. He’s an incredible talent, incredible power.

"Once he starts figuring the game out in the mind, how he plays best and with a bit more experience it’s a really dangerous combination.All the assets are there and if his confidence is up and gets the opportunity to play well then he could get on a roll and be really hard to stop."

South Africa's Jaques Kallis bagged the inaugural Player of the tournament honour in 1998, when the competition was known as ICC Knockout. The West Indian duo of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle won the awards in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

Australia's Ricky Ponting was named the best player in 2009 and India's Shikhar Dhawan in the 2013 edition which was also held in England.

Stokes left the field during the warm-up match against South Africa at Headingley on Wednesday with knee pain but returned in the closing stages of the match which the English side won by 72 runs.

England skipper Eoin Morgan briefed the media about Stokes' injury, saying, "It doesn't even have swelling, no significant signs of an injury but we'll assess that in the next couple of days.

"He did the right thing, went off to get checked because knees can leave you out for up to six months or a year if something significant does happen. He came back on with the green light to bowl and was running around but he understands. He's an experienced campaigner."

Did you know, Ben Stokes holds the record of most runs in a Test innings at the 6th position - 258 runs.

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