Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper
Flintoff backs Stokes to 'steal the show' for England
Andrew Flintoff believes Ben Stokes can "steal the show" for England in a home season featuring both the World Cup and the Ashes.
For the first time since the inaugural men's World Cup in 1975, England are staging arguably the two biggest events in their calendar - the one-day showpiece and a Test series against arch-rivals Australia - in the same season.
For a multi-format cricketer such as Stokes, a dynamic pace-bowling all-rounder of a similar kind to the now-retired Flintoff, it could be a career-defining summer.
Stokes, however, has yet to hit the heights he showed before being acquitted of affray by an English court last year following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in the early hours of the morning.
Flintoff believes Stokes' bowling confidence may have been set back by being hit for four successive sixes by the West Indies' Carlos Brathwaite in the last over of a 2016 World Twenty20 final in Kolkata that England had been poised to win.
But Flintoff said that was partly a consequence of Stokes' willingness to take responsiblity at key stages.
"With Ben he's just different," Flintoff told reporters in London on Tuesday.
"As a batter he can bat three, he can bat four - his bowling's getting better all the time."