July 21, 2020 / 4:44 AM / 23 days ago

Joe Root hails 'Mr Incredible' Ben Stokes after Manchester masterclass

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ Manchester masterclass has convinced captain Joe Root that the team are “in the presence of greatness” and that sky was the limit for “Mr Incredible”.

Cricket - Second Test - England v West Indies - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 20, 2020 England's Ben Stokes hits a six, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Michael Steele/Pool via REUTERS

Stokes’ match haul of 254 runs and three wickets fashioned England’s series-levelling victory against West Indies in the second test on Monday, also earning him the player-of-the-match award.

“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 this consistently.”

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 second child.

“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.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford

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