Ben Stokes can be an England great, says Andrew Flintoff

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport
Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes scored his maiden Test hundred against Australia in Perth in 2013
Flintoff & Vaughan's 2005 Ashes Roadshow
Date: Thursday, 25 June Time: 20:00 BST Where:BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website, Red Button, then on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days

Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff says Ben Stokes is a more talented player than he was and can become an England great.

Stokes, 24, evoked memories of Flintoff with a spectacular all-round performance against New Zealand in the first Test at Lord's in May.

But Flintoff believes Stokes is capable of surpassing his own achievements.

"I survived a lot on bravado but I think Stokes has a lot more skill," Flintoff told BBC Sport. "I think he could be one of England's greats."

Andrew Flintoff says England's Ben Stokes is better than he was

Flintoff took 24 wickets and scored 402 runs to inspire England's first Ashes series victory for 18 years in 2005.

Ten years on, England are looking to Stokes to help avenge a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in the last series against Australia, starting in Cardiff on 8 July.

The Durham all-rounder showed his match-winning qualities in scoring 92 and 101 against the Black Caps at Lord's before he removed Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum in successive balls to help England to victory.

"He's an impact player, a personality player," added Flintoff, who will be reunited with some of his 2005 Ashes team-mates in a special BBC Radio 5 live roadshow on Thursday. "He will have quiet games, but when he does perform he will win matches.

"I wouldn't judge him on averages or how many runs he goes for with the ball. Look back at the end of the series and see how many games he influences, and I think in the Ashes he could influence two or three games.

"I was a pretty unskilful cricketer. I survived a lot on bravado and trying to use my size. It's always hard when people get compared but I think Stokes should set his standards a little bit higher rather than think about me."

Flintoff v Stokes - Test records compared
Batting average31.7734.15
Bowling average32.7843.24

Flintoff is upbeat about England's Ashes chances despite the fact they have won only one of five Test series since beating Australia 3-0 in 2013.

"You look at it on paper - the captain is scoring runs, you have Ian Bell with 20-odd hundreds, Joe Root's brilliant, Gary Ballance averages 50-odd, Adam Lyth has just scored a 100 and then you've got an all-rounder.

"Bowling wise, you've got Jimmy Anderson with 400 wickets, Stuart Broad 280. Mark Wood is raw but I quite like that about him, just let him run in and bowl quick - and then you've got Stokes backing that up.

"The one area which I think they'll be looking at is the spin department. Ashley Giles did such a good holding role for England [in 2005] and I think we need a spinner to do that now.

"Moeen Ali could be the man to do that but that's the only one area where they might be a bit weak. Apart from that, they're a good team."

Andrew Flintoff
England's Flintoff was voted man-of-the-series in the 2005 Ashes

Top Stories