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Ben Stokes backs "gem" Rory Burns to enjoy bright England future

Ben Stokes backs
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Ben Stokes has backed the Surrey opener to enjoy a long and successful Test career.

Ben Stokes believes England have discovered a gem in Rory Burns, backing the opener to enjoy a long and successful Test future.

Following a solid Ashes campaign, the 29-year-old Surrey star cemented his top-order status with a second Test century and an average of 61.33 in England's recent series defeat against New Zealand.

"We have found a gem in Rory Burns," Stokes told talkSPORT. "He is going to have a long future.

Rory Burns scored his second England century in the recent draw against New Zealand
Rory Burns scored his second England century in the recent draw against New Zealand (Mark Baker/AP)

"He is similar to Alastair Cook in the way he operates, occupying the crease and looking to spend time out in the middle to score his runs.

"When we first saw him train with us in Sri Lanka, although he didn't get off to a great start and get the big runs, there was something about him that you could say, 'yes, he is a Test match opening batsman'.

"That hundred he got in the Ashes was fantastic, he got a brilliant hundred in New Zealand too. He has got everything there to be a very successful opener for England over a long period of time."

Burns was joined by Dominic Sibley in New Zealand as England's selectors bid to find a stable opening partnership in the mould of Cook and Andrew Strauss.

Dom Sibley scored 38 runs from his three innings in New Zealand
Dominic Sibley scored 38 runs from his three innings in New Zealand (Mark Baker/AP)

Despite an encouraging 22 on debut, the 24-year-old scored just 38 runs in three innings.

But Stokes, speaking ahead of England's tour of South Africa later this month, added: "Dom has got the key things and the basic things to be a successful opener.

"I am not sure if people have already written him off after not doing too well, but you need to give players like that time to take that next step, to understand what changes they need to make with their technique because the wickets are different, and the bowlers are quicker in Test match cricket."

Stokes, odds-on favourite to be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year at Sunday's ceremony in Aberdeen following a remarkable summer in which he inspired England to World Cup glory and provided a match-winning performance against Australia at Headingley, also called for patience with Jofra Archer.

And both nominated for @BBCSPOTY Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year!

🗳 closes 0900 GMT Friday#SPOTY

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 5, 2019

The fast bowler burst onto the scene earlier this year with a string of devastating displays, but he encountered a difficult time of it in New Zealand, finishing with two wickets at an average of 104.50.

"When you achieve what he achieved in such a short space of time you are expected to do it day in, day out, but that is just impossible," said Stokes.

"He is 24. He doesn't have that much experience. He is still learning how to bowl properly in different conditions.

"You have to afford him leeway and understand that he is still maturing as a player. You cannot expect him to take four for 50 in every innings."

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