File photo of England allrounder Ben Stokes. (AFP)
London: Stuart Broad has backed Ben Stokes to have as big an impact on the England scene as he did on a Barbados dressing-room locker after the young allrounder was recalled to a 13-man squad for next week's first Test against India.
Stokes missed England's recent 1-0 home loss to Sri Lanka in a two-Test series after the selectors decided he needed to get more overs under his belt after a freak wrist injury.
So angry was Stokes at being dismissed for a golden duck against the West Indies in Barbados, he punched a dressing room locker at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown and promptly broke a bone in his hand.That forced the 23-year-old to miss the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and the start of the English season.
Since then the seamer has taken a career-best 7 for 67 for Durham against Sussex - and 10 wickets in the match - although his batting has been less impressive with 172 runs at 28.66 in four Championship matches.
However, Stokes has already shown his ability at international level by providing England with rare highlights during their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia when he scored a maiden hundred in his second Test at Perth and took eight wickets in Sydney.
"We know the quality Stokes has got - he's a raw talent but he is a player you want to play with and not against," said England new-ball bowler Broad, speaking before the squad was announced at the London headquarters of series sponsors Investec.
"He can get in players' faces and he has already got a Test match hundred and Test match 'six for' at Sydney. He is obviously a very talented guy. He was not in the Sri Lanka Test match squad in order to get more overs," Broad said.
Recalling how Stokes performed during a miserable Ashes for England, Broad added: "He was 21-22 and standing up to [Australia's] Brad Haddin in the toughest series he could have possibly played in and he came out as a shining light.
"He is the sort of player who can really get in the Indians' faces," said Broad, no stranger to getting under the skin of opponents himself.
However, with Stokes having to displace the likes of fellow allrounder Chris Jordan from the side, Broad added: "But he has got to have an opportunity first."
Next week's first of a five-Test series takes place at Broad's Nottinghamshire home ground and the seamer did have some words of advice for Stokes if he felt the urge to smash a dressing-room locker again. "I think they are made from solid wood ... so it would be best to avoid them!"