Former opening batsman Gautam Gambhir reckons England all-rounder Ben Stokes is in a league of his own and that based on his current form, no player from India or from any other part of the world is anywhere even close to him.
Stokes has been on a hot streak for England over the last summer. Last year, he led England to a World Cup win with a match-winning performance in the final against New Zealand and in less than two months’ time, Stokes shepherded one of England’s most memorable Test wins against Australia in the Ashes. Trailing 0-1, Stokes scored a scintillating 135 not out, helping England chase down 359 to level the series. At 286/9, Australia were favourites to bowl England out but Stokes put on an unbeaten 76-run stand for the final wicket which took England home.
Earlier this week, Stokes pipped Jason Holder to take the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for all-rounders on the back of his performance in the second Test in Manchester. Stokes scored a century in the first innings, followed by a quick-fire fifty in the second, and took three wickets. This was after he had grabbed six wickets in Southampton and scored 46 and 43 in the two innings. “You can’t compare anyone in India at the moment with Ben Stokes,” Gambhir said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports. “Absolutely not, because Ben Stokes is in his own league. What he has done in Test cricket, what he has done in one-day cricket, what he has done in T20 cricket, I don’t think so there’s anyone, let alone in India, there isn’t anyone who’s even close to him in world cricket at the moment. And that is the kind of impact player you need in every line-up.”
Gambhir said even though there are players who would be eager to do the kind of things Stokes has been able to achieve, at the moment, he can think of none.