Just like Flintoff disliked being compared to Sir Ian Botham, so Stokes has no wish to be mentioned in the same sentence as Freddie
It is not that Stokes is averse to a bit of fruity language, but this was the dreaded comparison with Andrew Flintoff.
Ben Stokes does not wish to be compared to Freddie Flintoff
Flintoff found himself being compared to Sir Ian Botham
Broad said his England team-mate’s bowling in the 239-run Third Test win against South Africa reminded him of Freddie in his pomp — fast, accurate, intimidating and inspiring to his team-mates.
Comparisons can be off-putting. Just like Flintoff disliked being compared to Sir Ian Botham, so Stokes has no wish to be mentioned in the same sentence as Freddie.
The Durham all-rounder, 26, wants to be his own man and, although he would never say this, he is a better cricketer than Flintoff.
He is a superior batsman and a more skilful bowler.
Flintoff was a great character — remember “Mind the windows, Tino” and consoling Brett Lee at Edgbaston in 2005 — but his stats were surprisingly modest, especially in the first half of his career.
Stokes has scored as many centuries and taken as many five-fors as Flintoff in fewer than half the number of Tests.
England Cricket – Stokes and Flintoff
Sir Ian Botham played for England between 1977 and 1992
The England Test vice-captain said: “I suppose it’s always nice getting compared to that guy.
“Some of the spells he produced when playing for England were amazing to watch. But I don’t really know what to say other than it’s nice getting compliments from your team-mates.
“I’ve always said that, when the comparisons started flying at me, I’m not trying to be anyone else except myself.
“As long as I can produce the moments for the team that swing games our way, that’s all I want.
Stokes slammed a first innings century against South Africa at The Oval
He was voted man of the match after England’s victory in the Third Test
“I’m not trying to live up to anyone else’s reputation. I’m just trying to do what I do and keep putting in good performances.”
Stokes is enjoying a stellar year with his £1.7million Indian Premier League deal — he was Player of the Tournament — followed by a century against Australia in the Champions Trophy and being named man of the match at The Oval in the last Test.
But he is so determined to continue improving, he deliberately makes practice sessions awkward and difficult.
Stokes added: “I’m never happy where I’m at, never want to feel like I’m comfortable. I’m always trying to test myself and think of different ways to make sessions harder.
Stokes and Jimmy Anderson gave South Africa’s battling Dean Elgar some verbals
Stokes actually ‘found it quite difficult to get back to my best, rhythm-wise and pace-wise’
“For example, I’m working on ways to make catching practice more difficult.
“I’m always trying to put obstacles in front of me to make it harder and introduce different types of batting, bowling and fielding practice.
“If it is harder in practice, it can feel easier in the game. It’s been tough work over the last six or seven weeks, since the knee trouble I had at the start of the summer.
I found it quite difficult to get back to my best, rhythm-wise and pace-wise.
“The big confidence boost was that long spell I bowled in the previous Test at Trent Bridge. Now it’s about not resting on my laurels because I’ve had a couple of decent spells.
But he was able to give a fantastic all-round performance
Stokes certainly proved himself to be a batsman of superior ability
“Whether I have a bat or ball in my hand, I always try to give everything. I try to get in a battle with a batsman to stir myself up.
People say, ‘He gives 150 per cent’ but you can only really give 100 per cent! That’s what I always try to do.
“I rapped Dean Elgar on the gloves a couple of times on the fourth evening at The Oval but he got the better of me the next day.
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“I was going as hard at him as I could and he got a few words from myself and Jimmy Anderson. He scored a seriously gutsy hundred and it’s great to be part of those individual battles.
“But all the words are spontaneous, definitely. I’m not clever enough to think of things in advance.”
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