IPL has helped Stokes to mature as cricketer: Botham
Melbourne [Australia], May 29 (ANI): With just three days left to the commencement of hosts England's Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh, former skipper Ian Botham has said that in-form all-rounder Ben Stokes has developed mentally as a player after his successful maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) stint.
The 25-year-old, who was named IPL's Most Valuable Player, picked 12 wickets besides scoring 316 runs in 12 games he played in the 10th edition of the league to help Rising Pune Supergiant reach the final before he returned to England for international duty.
Recently, Stokes also smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes in his match-winning knock of 101 runs from 79 balls in England's second ODI against South Africa on Saturday to underline his reputation as one of the players to watch at the upcoming 50-over marquee event.
Labelling Stokes as a `matured` cricketer than before, Botham said that the former has returned from India with a lot clearer mindset.
"He has matured as person and cricketer. People were saying to me, 'Do you think he should have gone for that long to the IPL?' The answer is 'yes' because he's come back a better cricketer. He's probably thinking a lot clearer and knows what he wants to do; he doesn't get flustered anymore," cricket.com.au quoted Botham as saying during an interview to a leading sports website.
"I think he's come back from India a better cricketer and I think people should look at the bigger picture and not just say 'he's got a knee injury – he got that in the IPL' when in fact, he's had that a while," he added.
Meanwhile, the England all-rounder has been rested for the third and the final ODI against South Africa as he is carrying a minor niggle in his knee and, therefore, the national side don't want to risk him ahead of the Champions Trophy.
England will begin their Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh at the Oval on Thursday. (ANI)