From Benjamin to Ben and from Ben to Sir Ben Stokes, the inspiring manner in which this ‘bad boy’ of English cricket has evolved over the past decade is tremendous. More than the stats or records, it is his innate match-winning ability that makes him a real asset to the team. Today, as the all-rounder turns 29, heres wishing him a very Happy Birthday. As pure cricketing fans, we only wish to see him utilize his capabilities and talents to his best, thereby giving the fraternity many memories to cherish.
The Best of Ben Stokes:
— ICC (@ICC) June 4, 2020
In the summer of 2019, the 29-year old played his two best cricketing knocks in a space of barely a month. It was only the last day of the Leeds Test and Ben Stokes, batting past 50, had only Jack Leach for company with almost 86 needed. While the later tried to score a solitary run of 13 deliveries, Ben Stokes guided England home with a miraculous 135*. The precision with which he nailed gaps, the patience with which he saw good balls through and the calculated risks with which he reverse swept Lyon for sixes, the maturity Stokes had on display was unparalleled. That performance was perhaps the exact point where his Wisden Title gained weight.
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Closely fought though, was his other spectacular innings, this time in the World Cup finals. With 24 needed of the last 2 overs, England were down and out but hung by the slimmest of hopes. Ben Stokes played a heroic cameo to finish with an individual score of 84* and also helping England equal New Zealand’s total of 241. His exploits in the super over were also as crucial, as the hosts went on to win the World Cup by a bizarre boundary count rule.
Stokes might have only been an ordinary cricketer, or at times someone whom England could rely on for stability. However, the two extraordinary knocks from the all-rounder in the 2019 summer were enough for his deserving Leading Cricketer of the World title.
Stokes, ever since his debut in 2011, has been an asset to the English side across formats. Known for his brisk hitting down the order, extra-ordinary fielding and the ability to bowl in crunch situations, Ben Stokes has arguably been the find of the decade for English Cricket.
Going through a roller coaster throughout his career, Ben Stokes has been successful in overcoming each of his obstacles. First of which came in the World T20 Final in 2016 against West Indies where Carlos Brathwaite hit him for four massive sixes in the last over. Crouching down on the ground in tears, a dejected Ben Stokes had witnessed the lowest point in his cricketing career. Later, just when he seemed to have regained his form, he was charged with an 8 match ban for indiscipline owing to a midnight brawl in order to save a gay-couple at an English pub. Following the same, he was stripped off as England’s vice-captain and criticized largely for his misdemeanor. Doubts were also raised about Stokes’ comeback to the international circuit, but a player of his caliber was impossible to forget.
The current vice-captain of England, the New-Zealand born is also one of world’s most loved cricketers. His playing style, aggression, fearlessness and the attitude towards sports distinguishes him from the rest. Might be too early for a prediction, but Stokes might well be in queue to becoming one of the best all-rounders to ever exist.