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Eden to Lord's: Ben Stokes's life comes full circle at the Home of Cricket

Ben Stokes wanted to be remembered for what he did on the field and not as the guy who had a fight in the street and on Sunday, he won England the World Cup to become immortal in English cricket.

Ranit Das Ranit Das @ranitd94
New Delhi Published on: July 15, 2019 13:51 IST
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Ben Stokes starred for England in their victorious 2019 World Cup campaign

'Carlos Brathwaite! Carlos Brathwaite... remember the name! History for the West Indies.'

 
Ian Bishop's ecstasy has echoed in the ears of Ben Stokes for over three years and all this while the only thing he could do was laugh it out and tell people that he will never forget the name.
 
Stokes couldn't defend 19 runs 3 years back at the Eden Gardens against Carlos Brathwaite and it was a night he didn't want to be remembered for. England had seldom won big trophies on the biggest stage and it was the night that was supposed to add to their sparse trophy cabinet and Stokes on that day gave away a golden opportunity.
 
It was a day he wanted to get over quick but memories and people wouldn't until and unless he did something to make them forget that.

India Tv - Ben Stokes was slammed for 4 sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 World T20 final

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Ben Stokes was slammed for 4 sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 World T20 final


 
3 years down the line, he has come a long way from that. The memories still hurt but Stokes slowly became the linchpin of a resurgent English side, who were on their way to become the best in the world after a forgetful campaign in 2015.
 
This English side was aggressive and Stokes was at the centre of it. He scored with the bat, got wickets with the ball and flew on the field. He was the journeyman of English cricket with the potential of being the best and then his world collapsed again.
 
Stokes was arrested in the wee hours of September 25 in 2017 after a night out with English teammates to celebrate a win over West Indies in an ODI match earlier in the day. He was identified by an off-duty police officer as the "main aggressor" in a fight which left two people severely injured.
 
India Tv - Ben Stokes was arrested for charges of affray in September 27, 2019
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Ben Stokes was arrested for charges of affray in September 27, 2019

The Bristol Crown Court heard the whole incident and described it as "a sustained episode of significant violence" from Stokes. Stokes, however, defended his case by saying that he had stepped in to defend two gay men, who were being verbally abused but then he had to defend himself from two men, who were threatening violence.
 
Following the incident, he was stripped off his vice-captaincy and kept out of the England squad for the West Indies series and worse followed. Calls of disgrace followed and he was left out of England's squad for the Ashes.
 
He was later cleared of affray charges and was allowed to play cricket but he had already missed five Tests and 11 ODIs while waiting to be charged by the police. In ECB's own investigation, Stokes was given an eight-match backdated ban and fined 30,000 pounds. He then went to New Zealand to continue his cricket and fared decently.
 
His break into the English side came in February and since then he has played on for England. While Stokes was cleared after close to 11-months of suffering, his image had taken a solid beating.
 
"I don't want to be remembered as the guy who had a fight in the street. I want to do things on the field to be remembered for," Stokes had said earlier this year.
 
And on Sunday, he made sure people never forget him, and for a good reason.
 
As England lifted the 50-over World Cup for the first time ever, Stokes's part perhaps was the biggest reason behind it.
 
The all-rounder was as consistent as ever for England and perhaps now, he was the best pace-bowling all-rounder in the world. Stokes scored 465 runs from 11 matches, hitting 5 half-centuries at an average of 66.42 and also took 7 wickets. But his efforts were going to waste as England struggled to get over the line. But on July 14, he decided to take it to himself to do the job that he once failed to do.
 
England were struggling at 71/3 from 19.3 overs in their chase of 242. It was tough to bat and with the whole nation watching, Stokes had to come up with something special once again. He took his time and dig in. Along with Jos Buttler, struck a steady partnership for the fifth wicket and when Buttler fell, took it all upon himself to take his team home across the finish line. Wickets kept tumbling but Stokes hung on and in the end, with a stroke of luck, tied the game for the Three Lions.

India Tv - Ben Stokes starred in the World Cup final for England

Image Source : AP

Ben Stokes starred in the World Cup final for England


 
The game moved on to the Super Over and once again, it was up to him to go and bat and along with Buttler, he made sure England had something to defend and guided the hosts to 15 runs, which were not enough but just okay for England to end their trophy drought at the biggest stage of them all.
 
It was a heartbreak for New Zealand but when the cameras turned to Stokes, he was flying. There was ecstasy and a feeling of all three years passing by it seemed and finally, he had done what he always wanted to do: 'Do things on the field to be remembered for.'

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