Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Tuesday heaped praise on teammate Jos Buttler, saying the destructive wicket-keeper batsman is one of the most versatile white-ball players in the world at the moment.
“For me he is one of the most versatile and best ODI players in the world right now. You know he can destroy you; he can hit you 360 but he can also play innings like that in the World Cup final. To have that skillset as an ODI player is an absolute nightmare for an opposition captain or bowler,” Stokes said during a chat with Rajasthan Royals spin consultant and New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi in the The Royals Podcast Episode 5.
Hosts England won the World Cup for the first time in 2019 by beating New Zealand on boundaries after a tied Super Over amidst heart-stopping drama.
Chasing 242 for victory, Stokes’ scintillating unbeaten 84 helped the hosts tie the see-saw contest, forcing the Super Over where more drama unfolded.
Jos Buttler and Stokes took 15 runs off Trent Boult‘s Super Over without losing their wickets.
On fitness regimes changing in the England team, Stokes said: “Watching someone like Jos put in an extra 45 minutes to an hour on his fitness, that was what drove me to have a rethink to ‘I feel I can do more here’.
“Slowly I started operating in that mode of ‘right I can do my skills-based stuff, let’s do some sprints, let’s go for a run’, and then it led into something bigger and better.
“It then just got around the whole team with new guys coming in and just thinking that’s how everyone operates. I remember Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid used to be scared of the gym, but then those two started doing extra work and one of them in an interview said ‘we don’t want to let anyone down in the team over fitness.”
Stokes, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), also spoke about fielding, saying you cannot switch off at all on the field in T20 cricket.
“You can afford to switch off every now and again in a Test match or a One-Day game but in a T20 game you can’t. As you’ll know from the last two years at Rajasthan I was massive on making sure everyone was putting in the effort to make their fielding better because I know that if you can save 2, 3 runs every game in the field then it is going to help you win games of cricket.
“We had a great (fielding) coach with us, Yagi (Dishant Yagnik) who has so much energy absolutely loves cricket and loves fielding and he was so easy to work with. Me and Yagi would be sitting on the bus or back at the hotel discussing fielding drills to do that day so it was great fun doing something i’m not used to in terms of planning a fielding session.“
“The competitiveness is I think what brings the best out of everybody, you put a bit of competition on it, you know nobody wants to lose even though it’s a fielding drill and it’s at training,” he said.