Ben Stokes has a huge way ahead to match up Ian Botham 's achievements © Getty Images
Ben Stokes has a huge way ahead to match up Ian Botham ‘s achievements © Getty Images

Ian Botham has suggested that Ben Stokes is a better player than he was at the same age. Stokes earlier broke Botham’s record of fastest double Test century by an English player when Stokes smashed a 198-ball 258 in the second Test against South Africa at Cape Town which eventually ended in a draw. However, with two Tests to go, England already lead South Africa 1-0 in the 4-match Test series. Although statistically, Stokes has a long way ahead of him to match up Botham’s achievements, in terms of aggressive approach of the game, there indeed are similarities between these two. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: South Africa vs England 2015-16, 3rd Test at Johannesburg

According to ESPNCricnfo, Botham said, “As a player, he’s probably better than I was at 24. What I did was yesterday’s news, what he did is today’s news. He is not a jack of all trades and master of none. He is actually probably master of the three most important assets you need: batting, bowling and fielding.”

He went on to add, “His bowling can only get better. He has all the attributes: he has pace; he can swing the ball; he can reverse it; he can bowl orthodox. And he is terrific fielder close to the bat, in the covers or midwicket, backward point, on the boundary.”

When Botham was 25, he had six Test hundreds, 14 five-wicket hauls and was the captain of his side, while Stokes currently has 3 Test centuries and 2 five-for in Tests. However, Botham is confident that Stokes will add more five-for in his Test career and has also suggested that the 24-year-old should be allowed to play his natural game without complicating it.

“I held that record for 33 years, so it was about time it got broken. I enjoyed watching Ben Stokes. I have been a massive fan of his since I first saw him on the international scene. I think he has got tremendous, enormous potential to go all the way. That was one of those moments when you can just say ‘I was there’. When you think back to Headingley ’81, I know there were only about 10,000 people in the ground but I have met three-and-a-half million who say they were. Well, I was there for Ben Stokes,” the legendary cricketer said.

“Just let him go. Mike Brearley did absolutely the same with me. There was no leash in any way. I didn’t think too much. There is too much thinking about the game, too much analysis, looking at computers. I don’t need to look at a computer to know I’ve played a **** shot. It’s not that hard. But he is crucial to Alastair Cook’s selection policy. If he’s playing, then Cook actually has an option of two other players in his mind. He is the genuine article,” former English skipper added.