With useful all-rounders in the team, a captain can shuffle his bowlers and change the batting order according to the situation. In the ongoing Test series between India and England, Ben Stokes and R Ashwin have given Alastair Cook and Virat Kohli that luxury. Both the all-rounders have performed exceptionally well in all the departments. While Ashwin is a spin bowling all-rounder, Stokes is a fast bowling all-rounder. The comparison between these two players has sparked a never-ending debate as to who is more useful – a fast bowling all-rounder or a spin bowling all-rounder?
Ashwin or Stokes? Who would you pick?
In terms of statistics, Ashwin has picked up 231 wickets in 41 matches at an average of 24.64. Ashwin has 22 five-wicket and 6 ten-wicket hauls to his name. Stokes, on the other hand, has 73 wickets in his 29 matches with 2 five-wicket hauls to his credit. As far as batting is concerned, Ashwin has scored 1677 runs in 59 innings (41 Tests) at an average of 34.22. With a highest score of 124, Ashwin has 4 centuries and 8 half-centuries to his name. Stokes has scored 1790 runs in 51 innings (29 Tests) at an average of 35.80. With a double century against South Africa, Stokes has 4 centuries and 8 half-centuries in his career so far.
Both Ashwin and Stokes have a similar batting average. Given the fact that Ashwin has played on pitches that assist spinners, it is but obvious that he will have more wickets than Stokes. If you are playing in Indian conditions, it is certain that you would pick a spinner over a seamer. But who out of the two would you opt for if the match was to be played at a neutral venue?
R Ashwin against England
In the 8 matches that Ashwin has played against England, Ashwin has scored 516 runs in 14 innings with a highest score of 91*. With an average of 46.90, he has four half-centuries to his name. He has bowled 401.4 overs and has taken 28 wickets at an economy of 2.95. With one five-wicket haul to his name, Ashwin has 8/119 as his best bowling figures in the last match at Visakhapatnam.
Ben Stokes against India
Stokes, as a batsman would want to forget the first series against India. In his first three innings, he was out on a duck on all three occasions. Stokes has significantly improved his batting average in the ongoing series. Overall, he averages 38.83 runs with the bat in 7 innings. With 233 runs, Stokes has a century and a half-century against India to his name. In 133.5 overs bowled against India, he has picked 9 wickets and has been economical.
Ongoing series: Ashwin and Stokes
Stokes has scores of 128, 29*, 70 and 6 to his name. With 233 runs so far in the series, he has a batting average of 77.6. Ashwin has scored 167 runs (70,32,58 and 7) at an average of 41.75. As a bowler, Stokes has bowled 46 overs and has conceded 160 runs with 2 wickets to his name. Ashwin has bowled 128.4 overs, given away 350 runs but has 11 wickets to his credit. Stokes has taken 5 catches so far, two of which were blinders at slips to dismiss in-form batsman Virat Kohli.