Stokes to dominate English cricket for years - Botham


Ben Stokes will be the dominant player in the England cricket team for years to come, according to former captain Ian Botham.

Stokes hit the second fastest double-century in Test history in the second encounter between England and South Africa in Cape Town on Sunday, reaching the total off just 163 deliveries - 10 short of Nathan Astle's record - and surpassing Botham's 220-ball national record.

The 24-year-old went on to reach 258 before being run out, and although the Test ended in a draw with England holding onto a 1-0 lead in the series, Botham believes the display will assure his position as one of the group's top talents for years to come.

"Ben will feel untouchable at the moment. His confidence will be oozing and that will be good for the team as they will all pick up on that," said Botham.

"It's a little bit like being in the jungle - he is now the dominant male lion: the rest will feed off him. That's how he'll be. He'll be the dominant male in that side for a few years to come.

"It's an innings that will change his life. I don't think it will affect Ben that much himself though because he is a pretty uncomplicated character who just likes to go toe-to-toe with the opposition.

"That is certainly what motivated me and I am sure it's what motivates him."

South Africa's bowling attack for the second Test was hampered by the loss of Dale Steyn to a shoulder injury, but Botham does not think his return in Johannesburg on Thursday will turn the series in the Proteas' favour.

"Even if Steyn comes back, and there has got to be a massive doubt, he will be bowling within himself because he'll be worried that if breaks down again he'll be letting the side down," he added.

"He's been around long enough to make the right decision but it is something that will be bothering the South African camp at the moment.

"And even though they will be a lot happier now than they were after losing the first Test in Durban, when you look at the two sides man-for-man and mark them out of 10 then England win by quite a distance."