BEN STOKES scarcely seems to know where his next run is coming from for England.
The Durham allrounder’s three successive ducks since being recalled for the Test series against India have left him with a total of 18 runs in his last ten innings for England.
It’s an extraordinary statistic for someone who defied the cracked pitch at Perth to make 120 in the third Test of last winter’s Ashes debacle.
He finished that series by scoring 47 and 32 at Sydney after taking six for 99 in Australia’s first innings and appeared to have become a fixture in all forms of the game for England when he hit 70 in a one-day international at Perth.
England thought highly enough of him to have him batting at three, but it was in the final ODI at Adelaide that his depressing run began.
He followed a duck there by making five in his one appearance in the Twenty20 series which followed, then had a disastrous time in the West Indies in March.
He made four in the first T20 international in Bridgetown and was out first ball in the second.
Then came three ODIs in which he scored five and four before another first ball exit in Antigua prompted his assault on a locker, which resulted in a broken wrist.
He looked in good form when he returned to action for Durham at Trent Bridge in late May, scoring 61, and it was a surprise when he was left out of the two Tests against Sri Lanka.
Now he is in danger of being left out again as the selectors will want to give Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes a chance at some stage.
If he is released back to Durham it would certainly boost their prospects in the Royal London Cup as it is no coincidence that their two championship wins to date have come with Stokes in the side.