England cricket legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is backing Indian Premier League signing Ben Stokes to become a success.
The England all rounder was lured by IPL outfit Rising Pune Supergiants and he could make his debut on Thursday against his countryman Jos Buttler when they play Mumbai Indians.
Flintoff believes Stokes would match expectations which are quite high since he is the most expensive foreign player in the league for the year. Flintoff himself was an all rounder against the Australians in 2005 and 2009 before he was headhunted for £1 million by the Chennai Super Kings.
“I went to the IPL after being picked up for a few quid myself and I’m glad I had the chance to experience it. I found the pressure was very different from playing for Lancashire or England, and I’m not going to lie, I was always aware of it.
“In Test match cricket, you are fighting for a cause and all your energy is channelled into performing for your country. At the IPL, you are mixing with the best players in the world, and it’s a fantastic learning environment, but everything you do comes with that price tag,” Flintoff said.
He added that the new signing could “make an impact on any surface, anywhere in the world,” so he expects him to do very well in India. He hyped Stokes to become England’s best ever all rounder, hoping he would match Sir Ian Botham’s levels.
The star was hurt after England failed to defeat West Indies in the World Twenty20 final. Carlos Brathwaite’s four straight sixes gave them a sensational win, leaving England devastated. His £1.7 million price tag is big news in the IPL, and he would likely want to prove a point.