Ben Stokes has taken the top two spots in a public poll of the 50 greatest performances by an England cricketer in the past half-century after a virtuoso summer in the World Cup and Ashes.
More than 1,000 England cricket fans were surveyed by the Professional Cricketers’ Association and NatWest in honour of the 50th anniversary of the PCA Awards on Wednesday evening.
Stokes’s masterful 135 not out in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, after a backbreaking 3-56, carried England to an improbable one-wicket victory in August and was voted the crowning display of the past 50 years.
Weeks earlier, Stokes had underpinned England’s triumphant World Cup campaign with an unbeaten 84 in the nerve-shredding final against New Zealand, an innings which took second place on the list.
“It will be something I will look back at in 15-20 years’ time and truly understand and appreciate what those two occasions meant and what they did for cricket,” the Durham allrounder said.
England’s World Cup win and a 2-2 series draw in the subsequent Ashes have led to more interest in the sport, according to the research.
Fifty-four per cent of female respondents say they were more inclined to follow cricket on television or radio while 46 per cent are likelier to attend a match.
Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 54 per cent show a greater interest in playing the game.
“We did not just want to win the World Cup and the Ashes this summer, we wanted to win over the country in terms of what we do with our cricket,” Stokes said.
“We wanted to reach out to new fans, we wanted more people to take up cricket on what we could potentially achieve.”
Stokes features three times in the top 10 greatest performances, with his savage 258 against South Africa at Cape Town three years ago seventh on the list.
Andrew Flintoff took third for his twin fifties and seven-wicket haul in the dramatic Edgbaston Test in the 2005 Ashes.
Ian Botham’s Headingley masterclass against the Australians in 1981 ranked fourth while Stuart Broad’s 8-15 on his home ground of Trent Bridge in the Ashes four years ago rounded off the top five.
Source link : https://7news.com.au/sport/cricket/stokess-ashes-heroics-top-english-poll-c-482996
Publish date : 2019-10-01 23:59:45