Farbrace: We’ll give Stokes time

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Paul Farbrace has promised Ben Stokes will be given the time and patience to develop into a match-winning all-rounder for England.

Stokes has showed flashes of his vast potential on his Test comeback in the West Indies, hitting a dashing 79 on the first evening in Antigua and bowling a couple of dangerous but luckless spells.

Yet there is work still to be done, with his tour CV also showing a solitary wicket in 57 overs, the highest economy rate in the team and a slipshod dismissal for eight in Grenada last week.

Stokes, though, is inked on to the team sheet for the third and final Test in Barbados on Friday.

England see something in him, not least the rare ability to be taken seriously as a top-tier batsman and an international class pace bowler.

Add in his superb fielding and the streak of naked aggression that saw him foster an entertaining feud with Marlon Samuels during the second Test, and Farbrace sees a player who must be given licence to develop.

“Stokesy’s had one outstanding game and one tougher game. There’s absolutely no question that by playing him more he’ll make the progression he needs to,” said Farbrace.

“The more he plays the more he’ll understand international cricket.

“In terms of his bowling I think he was unlucky in that last Test but the great thing with him is that for five days he gives you absolutely everything.

“Whether it’s in the field with diving stops, his aggression, he certainly is someone that will get better the more he plays.”

Stokes has shone at different times for England with both bat and ball, making a maiden century in his second Test at Perth before claiming his first five-wicket haul a fortnight later in Sydney.

But Farbrace is clear about which of the 23-year-old’s disciplines is in best order at present.

“At the moment I see him as a batsman who bowls,” he said.

“Last year when he played there were times when he could quite easily have missed out but Peter (Moores, head coach) was really keen to keep him playing even though he wasn’t scoring runs.

“He ended up batting down the order but we all know he isn’t a bowler who bats, he’s a high-quality batsman who bowls and now we want him to develop into a high quality all-rounder.”

England do not tend to name an XI until the morning of the game, but Farbrace gave little succour to those who have been crying out for leg-spinner Adil Rashid to be handed a debut.

Moeen Ali retains faith as first-choice spinner and a second slow bowler at the Kensington Oval could be viewed as a luxury.

”Historically there has not been a lot of spin here but there has been a bit of bounce,” explained Farbrace.

“If you were thinking of spin Stokes and Chris Jordan are the most likely (to make way) but at the same time you want to keep progressing them, keep pushing them forward because we’re all seeing the progress that the two of them are making.

”Jordan and Stokes are two people we want to keep developing.”

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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