Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: The summer of Stokes could continue at the Proteas expense

Opinion: The summer of Stokes could continue at the Proteas expense

The summer of Stokes could continue at the Proteas expense

After a dismal 2018, England's Ben Stokes has enjoyed a resurgence both in the esteem he is held and in terms of his on-field displays this year.

Stokes could not inspire England to recover the Ashes although he did keep them in the hunt with a memorable knock with the tail at Headingley. He was also the hero for England in the Cricket World Cup.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Test series between England and the Proteas is the main event of the South African cricket season taking up the prime late December into January slot.

The series is set up as a battle between two teams that can both be brilliant but have plenty of flaws. It is a contest in which Stokes could be the difference.

The Proteas and England both have very good pace attacks and shakey top orders but South Africa are not blessed with an allrounder of the quality of Stokes.

Vernon Philander is a top bowler but he isn't going to win too many Tests with the bat and doesn't have a Test double ton at Newlands to his name.

The Proteas might hope that Wiaan Mulder will develop into a player who can make Stokes-like contributions towards South Africa's cause. Mulder's hundred against India A earlier this season points to his potential but injury could hamper his progress and the Proteas are in need of match-winners, right now.

England's batting plagued by inconsistency, but they have plenty of players who can win matches with Stokes more likely than most. He is a player who could command a Test spot on the basis of his batting or his bowling alone. The Proteas haven't had a player like that since the retirement of Jacques Kallis.

Stokes is one of a number of England's multi-format stars who have been rested for their T20I series against New Zealand that takes up the first third of November but he will return for two Tests.

Those Tests in New Zealand will give the Proteas some idea of what kind of England team they will face come the Boxing Day Test in Centurion.

The Proteas have already been on the wrong end of Stokes' brilliance on several occasions and will need to find a way to neutralize him to overcome the tourists.

A South African team struggling through a transition period will look ripe for the taking to England with World Test Championship points on the line. The Proteas have yet to get off the mark in the newly-minted WTC after being blanked in India.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.

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