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Joe Root hails ‘Mr Incredible’ Ben Stokes

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Joe Root, heaped praise on the Man of the Match at Old Trafford against West Indies, Ben Stokes, calling him “Mr Incredible” and stressing that “sky’s the limit for him”.  

England thumped West Indies on the final day by 113 runs with Ben Stokes yet again playing a pivotal role. He started out with the bat, continuing his free-wheeling role from day 4 as an opener, and blasted 78 in 57 balls, smashing three sixes. 

He later came out strong with the ball and broke the back of West Indies’ batting line-up by breaking the crucial stand between Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood by dismissing the latter.

In the first innings too, Stokes was the most influential figure for England. He made a 356-ball 176 to bat time and ground West Indies down. Later, with the ball, he delivered a crunch spell, peppering the batsmen with bouncers with the old ball and dismissed the top-scorer, Kraigg Brathwaite. 

“He’s Mr Incredible. I suppose,” Root said after the match, referencing the muscle-bound cartoon superhero of the same name. “He looks a bit like him, and will probably end up the same shape too.

“I certainly think he can keep performing at this level. 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.”

Stokes stepped up yet again when the team needed to and with no additional responsibility of captaincy, he yet again hauled them out of trouble like he has done consistently since 2019, most notably in Headingley against Australia in the Ashes. 

“It’s very difficult to compare the two on a number of levels,” said Root in a video conference after day 5. “There was the magnitude of an Ashes series – a series on the line, running out of partners, running out of options, everything sort of seemed to be dead in the water – and being able to get us across the line.

“Here he showed a bit more versatility really, within himself, and the fact that he’s more complete player now. I think on a personal front he thoroughly enjoyed this week in a different way to Headingley.

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“From a team point of view, it’d be very easy for us to not appreciate how good a performance this was, because of the lack of atmosphere within the ground. Well, I don’t think that’s the case. I think everyone understands that we are watching a player at the peak of his powers, at the peak of world cricket, delivering time and time again.

“We have to savour that, we have to appreciate that and understand that we are – without trying to pump his tyres too much – in the presence of greatness.”