Teams Played For
New Zealand, Durham, England, England Lions, England Cricket Board XI, Melbourne Renegades, Rising Pune Supergiant, Canterbury, Rajasthan Royals
Arguably the greatest all-rounder of the modern generation, Ben Stokes will forever be remembered as the man behind England’s maiden World Cup triumph. What Ben Stokes did in 2019 was quite surreal. It was his all-around abilities that took England to a whole new level where they clearly became the strongest limited-overs side in the world. His knock of 84 in the 2019 World Cup final will be etched in the history of cricket in golden letters. The powerful striker had exhausted all his energy but had to still come out to bat in the Super Over after the match ended in a tie. He battled hard and his exploits were just enough to help England win their first World Cup title by the barest of margins. Born in New Zealand, it was indeed a special moment for Stokes to win the World Cup against the country of his birth.
What makes Stokes a world-class cricketer is not just his ability with the bat and ball but also his willpower to come back from precarious situations. Following his World Cup exploits, Stokes struck arguably the greatest Test innings of all time when he single-handedly won the 2nd Test of the 2019 Ashes. It was hitting of the highest calibre. With England still needing 70 odd to win with a wicket left, Stokes literally made a mockery of the Australian attack and did the impossible with last man Jack Leach who perhaps scored the most important 1 in the history of Test cricket. He survived a few close shaves but as they say “Fortune favours the brave” and he was indeed a brave man to even think of closing that game out.
It was a great redemption act from Stokes who was remembered earlier for his two unfortunate incidents, one on the field and the other off it. Given the ball to defend 19 in the final over of the 2016 T20 World Cup final in Kolkata, Stokes was smashed for four consecutive sixes and his face at the end of the match summed up what he might have gone through after that match. The next incident occurred in 2017 when he was involved in a fight outside a Bristol Pub which led to his arrest. He was cleared of any charge by the court but the damage was done as far as his reputation was concerned. He missed the 2017-18 Ashes and was also stripped from vice-captaincy.
The comeback which followed was simply exemplary as the all-rounder was instrumental in England’s first-ever series whitewash in Asia when they defeated Sri Lanka 3-0. There was no looking back for Stokes from that point in time. He kept on improving his skills and is undoubtedly the best all-rounder in the modern generation. His all-around abilities have also prompted people to compare him with the great Ian Botham but there is a long way to go but he is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest all-rounders of all time.
Stokes, from the moment he made his Durham debut, felt very much a product of the northeast of England. He was actually born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and came from a rich sporting pedigree with his father, Ged, playing international Rugby League for that country. After two breaches of discipline, Stokes was sent back home after being included in the England Lions squad for the tour of Australia in 2013. He returned for Durham and announced his return to the England team after scoring consistently and taking wickets for Durham during their triumphant campaign. Stokes was selected for the tour of Australia and he emerged as one of the bright spots for England. He smashed a sensational hundred at Perth albeit in a losing cause.
As far as franchise cricket is concerned, Stokes has always been a sought after cricketer and attracted huge bids in the 2017 IPL Auctions when he was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiant. He did justice to his reputation and was subsequently bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crores in the 2018 Auctions. Since then he has been an integral member of the side and has been one of the most consistent performers for them.
However, in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League, Ben Stokes suffered a fracture on his left index finger. The incident occurred while fielding during the Royals’ opening match against the Punjab Kings. The all-rounder dived in front to complete a catch in the deep, but in the process, his finger got badly injured.
He was out for nearly 10 weeks and made a return to cricket in the 2021 Vitality Blast. After the recently concluded England-Sri Lanka limited over series, England suffered a huge blow as their entire ODI squad, which was set to face Pakistan were forced to self-isolate. This was because seven positive covid-19 cases were recorded among the team’s players and management. As a result, Ben Stokes was appointed the stand-in captain for the three-match ODI series.
Known as the modern-day Ian Botham, OBE Ben Stokes became a household name after his heroics in the 2019 World Cup. A three-dimensional player in the literal sense, Stokes is an invaluable player for Eoin Morgan in the limited-overs side and remains the backbone in the Test setup as well. By the time Stokes decides to retire, he’ll surely be in the bracket of the greatest all-round players produced in world cricket.
(As of July 2021)