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Ashes 2021-22 | Ben Stokes hasn't looked like aggressive presence that opposition teams have feared, says Ricky Ponting

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Ben Stokes has scored only 92 runs from six innings in the ongoing Ashes series

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Ashes 2021-22 | Ben Stokes hasn't looked like aggressive presence that opposition teams have feared, says Ricky Ponting

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SportsCafe Desk

12/27/2021

Ricky Ponting has opined that the England all-rounder Ben Stokes has not looked like the “physically aggressive” presence that opposition teams have feared in the past. Ponting further added that Stokes should change his approach against Australia bowlers in the ongoing five-match Test series.

Ashes 2021-22 has commenced and Australia have been the dominating side in the five-match Test series so far. The hosts are leading by 2-0 in the ongoing Ashes series, and the Joe root-led side have a lot of problems to ponder upon. For England, their batting has looked average except few brilliant knocks from Dawid Malan and Joe Root. Also, the bowling unit of the visitors have failed to trouble the Australian batsmen in the last two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively. 

Ben Stokes has returned to international cricket after a long gap, and the visitors expect a lot from their star all-rounder. However, Stokes has scored only 92 runs from six innings and could clinch only four wickets in the ongoing five-match series.

Meanwhile, former Australia cricketer, Ricky Ponting has opined that Stokes has looked ultra-defensive so far in the series. 

“He’s looked ultra-defensive. He hasn’t looked like the big, physically aggressive presence at the crease that opposition teams have feared to bowl to in other series,” Ponting told ‘cricket.com.au.

“You can understand why – the batting conditions haven’t been easy in any game and he’s coming up against some good bowlers.”

Ponting feels that Stokes should change his approach while batting against the Australian bowlers in the Ashes series. The former Australia captain further added that Stokes should take advantage of bad balls and rotate the strike to do well with the bat.

“But I think if you just sit back and wait, and don’t put pressure on great bowlers, they’re going to get you out. We always used to say in teams that I played in that the better the bowler, the more risks you had to take as a batter, because you simply don’t get bad balls,” he explained. 

“You have got to find a way to jump on anything that’s a little bit bad, rotate the strike as much as you can.”

Batting has been the biggest concern for the visitors as their top order have not yet found their rhythm. England brought in Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow in place of Ollie Pope and Rory Burns in the batting order for the ongoing third Test match. Also, Joe Root is taking the sole responsibility of scoring runs for his side in the ongoing Ashes series.

Ponting opined that the poor performance of the other England batsmen have put more pressure on Joe Root while walking out to bat at No.5.

“He’s probably going into the game knowing that it’s so important that he scores runs in that number five slot that he might be trying a little bit too hard,” he stated.

“The bottom line with it is that technically he might be their second-best player, so you can’t keep pushing him down the list when you’re batting guys with inferior techniques ahead of him.”

“And if you look at everyone outside of Joe Root then I would say that technically he is their second best player.” 

The form of senior players, especially the performance of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler is a huge concern for the visitors. Buttler has managed just 91 runs from five innings. Ponting criticized Stokes, Root and Buttler saying that they should rise to the occasion. 

“(It was) inexcusable for three of your more senior players, the players that they needed to stand up on the back of what we believe were some pretty stern discussions after the Adelaide game.If your leaders aren’t going to do it, then you can’t expect the younger guys to get the job done,” Ponting said.

“The young guys are going to learn from the senior players and when the senior players are setting examples like that, you can understand why some of the younger guys are making mistakes as well,” he added.

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