Stokes seeking to cement all-rounder status
Ben Stokes is aiming to establish himself as an international-class all-rounder after a breakthrough season with the ball at Durham.
The 21-year-old, who bats left-handed but bowls right-arm seam, initially attracted the attention of the England selectors - and subsequently gained seven limited-overs caps - through his run-scoring exploits at domestic level.
However, this year Stokes’ bowling has come to the fore. A tally of 625 LV= County Championship runs may have represented a somewhat below-par return, but his 32 wickets came at an excellent average of 22.
“It was disappointing with the bat, but my bowling has really kicked on,” he explained in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk.
"I had more responsibility, which I thrived on. It’s given me a lot more confidence with the ball going into next year.”
Stokes’ performances prompted Durham head coach Geoff Cook to highlight the youngster as a genuine all-round contributor.
“In my first couple of seasons I was a batter who bowls, but now to be classed as one of them (an all-rounder) is something I’ve always wanted to be,” Stokes added.
“This season made me realise that I can be. I’ve always thought of my batting as my main attribute, and I still think it is at the moment, but after a good season this year with the ball, hopefully I can carry that on next year.”
Having tasted England action in the summer of 2011, Stokes was hampered by a serious finger injury.
He is now seeking an international recall and will be given the opportunity to push his claims during his time with the England Performance Programme.
“I had a little taste of it (England duty) last summer and hopefully if things go well this winter then I might get back into the team,” said Stokes.
“I didn’t have the best of seasons, so I was in two minds over whether I was going to get picked or not. Last winter I was out with my injury, so it’s good to be playing some cricket instead of being sat doing rehab over the winter.”