Ben Stokes has had something of a comedown since his stunning Ashes performances. It’s been a disappointing time for a man who impressed so much in four Tests that Pom-basher Malcolm Conn put him in his team of 2013. Expensive with the ball and out of sorts with the bat, Stokes may be a certainty in the Test side but now he might be nervous for his limited-overs place. It’s slightly ironic considering his early England appearances came in coloured clothing, but given that the slower bowlers have excelled in the Caribbean and will be prominent in the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh, Stokes may be the fast bowler to make way for another spinner. Pushed up the order to number three in the one-day internationals against Australia, the runs have dried up and his stumping against Marlon Samuels here looked ugly at best. It capped a poor match which saw his two overs go for 30. Fortunately, he is highly rated and there are two more matches to cement his place.
No England cricketer receives as much criticism as Jade Dernbach. Routinely hit out the park, Dernbach has the mitigating factor that he bowls at the worst times during an innings. England lack death bowlers and are keeping the faith with the Surrey man. His Twenty20 economy is around eight and a half runs per over. In his last three matches he went for over 40 runs each time. In his last match in Australia, George Bailey hit him for 26 in an over. Now in Barbados, his first two overs went for a combined 11 and his last for five. Unfortunately, the one in between went for 20. But even that does not tell the story. First ball, he had Marlon Samuels dropped at cover by James Tredwell. The next five all went to the boundary although only the last truly deserved it. With England lacking suitable death bowlers, Dernbach will almost certainly be back for more punishment.
Anyone wondering which of the two teams – if either – they wish to back for the World Twenty20 only have to look at the figures of the West Indian spinners: Samuel Badree 3-17, Sunil Narine 1-8 (off two overs) and Marlon Samuels 2-21. England looked clueless against the spin with Stokes’ charge and attempted slog the worst dismissal on the eye. If Eoin Morgan does not find form then it’s hard to see England winning any matches. Luke Wright, meanwhile, has one score in double figures from his last 10 England knocks with a top score of 30. With his bowling sparingly used, his place has to be under threat.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
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