Ben Stokes (L) and Jason Holder
England vice-captain Ben Stokes’ match-winning performance in the second Test against West Indies hoisted him above Windies skipper Jason Holder to become the top-ranked all-rounder in the game’s longest format, the International Cricket Council said on Tuesday.
Stokes followed up his 176 in the first innings with an unbeaten 78 in the second and also picked up three wickets in the contest to pull off a series-levelling win on Monday, earning the player-of-the-match award.
The 29-year-old overtook Holder in the latest rankings to become the first England player to reach the top spot since Andrew Flintoff in May 2006.
His moving average of 497 rating points, the highest of any test all-rounder since South Africa great Jacques Kallis racked up 517 in April 2008, ended Holder’s 18-month reign at the top.
Stokes also climbed to a career-best third position among test batsmen, behind India’s Virat Kohli and Australia’s top-ranked Steve Smith.
Meanwhile, Stokes played down injury concerns ahead of the third Test at Manchester starting on Friday, after he did not finish an over when bowling late on Monday.
“I felt very old this Test match. The body started to feel really stiff,” Stokes told the BBC. “I asked Broady (Stuart Broad) and he said ‘Just stop’.
“I had the same thing against Pakistan three or four years ago and I didn’t want to take the risk. For once, I’ve made the sensible call and listened to my body.”
Stokes’ performance won praise from his captain Joe Root who said that the team are “in the presence of greatness” and that the sky was the limit for “Mr Incredible”.
“He’s Mr Incredible, I suppose,” Root said, comparing Stokes to the muscular cartoon superhero. “He looks a bit like him, and will probably end up the same shape too.
“I think the sky is the limit for him really, when you watch how he goes about things, there’s no reason why he can’t keep performing
Even in their four-wicket defeat in the series opener at Southampton Stokes managed 89 runs and six wickets, leading the side while Root attended the birth of his
“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,” Root said.
“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.”
Stokes was also a key player for England last year, pushing them to a thrilling 50-overs World Cup final win and smashing an unbeaten century to ensure victory in an Ashes Test against Australia at Headingley.
Root said the 29-year-old had added “different gears” to his game.
“Here he showed a bit more versatility really, within himself, and the fact that he’s more complete player now,” he added.