Cricket can indeed be a cruel game and who better than Ben Stokes to answer that question? The England all-rounder, who was applauded for his death bowling against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the first semi-final, had a horrible outing in the all-important final against the West Indies at the Eden Gardens. Stokes was slammed for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Braithwaite in the final over of the game to seal the campaign for West Indies.
As soon as the game ended, skipper Eoin Morgan had clearly stated that the team shared Stokes’ pain and would be supporting the all-rounder. After Morgan, it is now coach Trevor Bayliss’ turn to support Stokes. “He is one of those blokes if we had a game tomorrow, he’d put his hand up to bowl the last over again,” Bayliss said. “No one is blaming Stokesy for anything. To be honest, he is the heart and soul of this team. If everyone put in half as much as Stokesy does, we’d go a long way.”
Bayliss also stated that he would never doubt the Stokes’ ability as an all-round cricket. “You can’t fault Ben’s leadership in the team or the effort he puts in. It doesn’t matter whether he is batting, bowling or fielding, he gives you 100% until there’s nothing in the tank. The more of those type of cricketers we can produce, the better for England cricket,” said Bayliss.
Bayliss also put light on Stokes’ bitter rivalry with West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels. Samuels and Stokes had an altercation during England’s tour of the Caribbean in early 2015 and Samuels had saluted Stokes after the southpaw was dismissed. “I think there is a bit of history between those two from the last England tour to the West Indies,” Bayliss said. “Ben’s one of those players that feeds off that. Some players sometimes say things and they can’t really back it up. But Stokesy is one of those players that’s what turns him on, that’s what gets his juices flowing and makes him as good as he is,” Bayliss added.