Ben Stokes characterized the year of Test cricket in 2022 more than any other and is the undisputed and worthy recipient of the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year award. England’s Ben Stokes, 870 runs at 36.25 average and 26 wickets at 31.19 average, England’s talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes had an outstanding year in the whites of international Test cricket based only on his statistics.
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However, sometimes the game is about more than simply statistics, and in 2022, Ben Stokes and new England head coach Brendon McCullum radically overhauled the form, fortunes, and style of the England Men’s Test side. Players and teams have previously played aggressive cricket. But Stokes has taken his regular dedication to England’s entertaining and aggressive ways with the bat, ball, and in the field to a new level.
Since taking over as England captain, Stokes has led the team to nine wins from ten Tests, including series victories over New Zealand and South Africa at home, a one-off postponed Test victory over India to tie the series at 2-2, and a 3-0 thrashing of Pakistan away from home – England’s best ever margin of victory in the country. Before his captain selection, England had lost all four of their most recent completed series and had won just one of their previous 17 Tests.
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Ben Stokes was a fantastic captain, creating smart traps with his fields and using his bowlers superbly throughout the year. He was also fair but forceful in his selection judgments, bringing in fresh faces when necessary but not hesitant to throw out established players if the circumstances demanded it. Ben Stokes had a solid 2022 with the bat, accumulating 870 runs at an average of 36.25 and an aggressive strike rate of 71.21, notching up two centuries.
His first-inning 103 against South Africa in the second Test was the outstanding performance of his year, providing motivation to his side immediately after their sole Test defeat of the English summer. Ben Stokes also got four wickets in that game, concluding the South Africa series with ten dismissals and a 15.70 average. While his aggregate results with the ball in 2022 aren’t very impressive (26 wickets at 31.19), Stokes played a variety of tactical positions during the year, prioritizing effect and team balance above individual statistics.
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Under Stokes’ leadership, the team’s records fell. And it was with the bat that the records stood out the most. In 2022, England’s scoring rate of 4.13 in 15 Tests was the second-best in history and the highest since Australia in 1910. These statistics include the away defeat to the West Indies and the Ashes loss under Joe Root. The squad hit a game-changing 4.77 per over in the matches in which Ben Stokes led England. England’s 506/4 against Pakistan on the first day of the first Test was the highest number of runs scored by any side on the first day of a Test match.
Even more astounding, they did it in just 75 overs due to poor lighting. And, among the front-line hitters (from one to six) who have scored at least 100 runs in Test cricket by 2022, five of the top seven strike rates belong to English players, including Ben Stokes. Only Rishabh Pant and Travis Headstand are in the way of an English sweep of those statistics. Stokes was selected captain of the ICC Men’s Test XI for 2022 earlier this week. He was joined in the chosen XI by fellow ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award contenders Jonny Bairstow, Usman Khawaja of Australia, and Kagiso Rabada of South Africa.
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