Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: Stokes will show the Proteas what they are missing

Opinion: Stokes will show the Proteas what they are missing

Ben Stokes runs in to bowl in Test whites

England allrounder Ben Stokes has been on fire this season, blasting a phenomenal hundred in the Ashes and setting himself up as one of the greats.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Stokes' record compares favourably against that of the Proteas greatest ever allrounder Jacques Kallis, a man that has not been truly replaced since he hung up his boots.

The Proteas have, in the absence of a great allrounder, relied heavily on specialists but that has left them inflexible and often unbalanced.

Those who would be labelled allrounders have been bowlers who have shown promise with the bat whereas Stokes can command a place in the England team on the strength of either his batting or bowling.

South Africa's best candidate to fill that world-class allrounder void is young Wiaan Mulder, but injuries have hampered his career progress, and he was not in contention for the first Test squad.

A combative player who doesn't know when he is beaten, Stokes has driven England to new heights and is full of confidence off the back of an excellent year that saw him win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In New Zealand, Stokes looked good with the bat but struggled with the ball on tricky surfaces. In South Africa, Stokes' in-your-face bowling style should come to the fore, and the illness hit England might need a lift from their talismanic jack of all trades.

In South Africa's first Test squad the allrounders are the retiring Vernon Philander, Andile Phehlukwayo and Test newbie Dwaine Pretorius. Phehlukwayo and Philander have been most successful with the ball with the former struggling for any runs at all in the ultimate format. Pretorius has the potential to strengthen a shaky middle order, but there will be questions about what he brings with the ball.

If the Proteas are subjected to more punishment at the hands of Stokes, who belted a double ton the last time he visited Newlands, it will serve to illustrate the allrounder deficiency in South Africa's side further.

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