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England v West Indies

Ben Stokes becomes No.1-ranked Test all-rounder, third best Test batsman

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes’ fine displays in the ongoing Tests against West Indies have resulted in a jump up the ICC Test rankings – he is now the No.1 Test all-rounder, and is only behind Steve Smith and Virat Kohli in the batsmen’s rankings.

Stokes is the leading run-scorer and the leading wicket-taker in the series so far. He scored a first-innings 176 in Manchester, and followed it up with 78 – the fastest Test fifty by an England opener – despite opening for the first time in his Test career.

With the ball, he has consistently been England’s go-to bowler, be it for breaking partnerships or bowling long, continuous spells executing a single plan – he has taken nine wickets at a stunning 16.33 so far, including six wickets in Southampton.

All of which has contributed to Stokes’ waltz in the latest ICC rankings. He is now the top all-rounder in Test cricket, after displacing West Indies captain Jason Holder for the top spot.

His importance for England as a batsman was reflected in the rankings as he gained six places and is now the third highest-ranked Test batsman after Australia’s Smith and India captain Kohli. His place in the bowlers’ ranking at No.23 was unchanged.

It was exactly why Joe Root, the England captain, was gushing about Stokes after the series-levelling win on Monday. “I certainly think he can keep performing at this level,” said Root. “I think the sky’s the limit for him really, when you watch how he goes about things, there’s no reason why he can’t keep performing this consistently.

“To have such a complete game, and so many different gears at your disposal, allows you the ability to keep getting better. But most importantly, if he continues to read situations the way he is, and keeps the confidence that he’s playing with at the moment, there’s no reason why we can’t continue to see such brilliant performances as we have done this week, and over the last 12 months really.”

The latest rankings update wasn’t all about Stokes though. Dom Sibley, following his 120 in the first innings in Manchester, jumped 29 places to No.35 in the rankings, while Stuart Broad capped his Test return after missing out in Southampton with a rise of four places back into the top 10 in the bowlers’ ranking.

Chris Woakes, who took five wickets in Manchester, also rose three places in the bowlers’ charts, leapfrogging Stokes to No.21.

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