That’s Sir Ben Stokes, at some point in the future, you would have to think.
Also, it really is only a matter of time until his life is turned into a Hollywood blockbuster.
Start with the 2016 World T20 final, when he was plundered for four straight sixes in the final over of the final, costing England the title.
Then move onto his infamous street fighting video from Bristol, where he threw out a few haymakers and was subsequently dropped from the test team and stripped of the vice-captaincy.
Redemption was certainly forthcoming at the World Cup, where a fantastic tournament performance was topped off by a starring role in the most dramatic ODI match of all time, albeit with a healthy slice of good fortune.
You would think that was enough heroics for one summer, but then yesterday rolled around. England was on the ropes, requiring 73 runs with just Stokes and bespectacled number 11 Jack Leach at the wicket, but then the ginger-tinged allrounder played one of the greatest knocks test cricket will ever see.
For those who missed out, here are the highlights that are well worth taking the five minutes to watch:
What next – the guy singlehandedly solves Brexit?
He may play for another 10 years, but surely Stokes will never, ever, experience another moment of pure joy quite like this:
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) August 25, 2019
Naturally, as England (and all those cricket fans who support anybody who plays Australia) celebrated, the internet did its thing.
The Ashes’ Wikipedia entry was soon edited:
It’s since been edited back, but it’s tough to argue with the above.
Much credit, though, must also be given to Stokes’ batting partner, Jack Leach, who may just have scored the greatest ever one not out in cricketing history.
Sorry, Makhaya – your nudge to third man in the 438 game is still legendary, but Leach survived 17 balls.
Ben certainly appreciated his teammate’s efforts:
Fast forward past midnight, and Stokesy was clearly feeling the emotion of it all. I’m sure a few beers didn’t hurt, either:
The caption, for those who missed it:
I fucking (don’t care if I get fined) love Test Match Cricket and I love @englandcricket #ashes@mjleach17 is a legend photo cred @stuartbroad8
Yeah, Stuart Broad is that friend.
I’m surprised Ben could still string a sentence together past midnight, because the beers were already being cracked during the post-match presentation, and I’m sure the dressing room was a festive place to be when that was all wrapped up.
Another angle of the man soaking it all in, before the drinks flowed:
Also, how about this for a moment:
The only sad part about England’s win is that neither Cameron Bancroft nor Steve Smith was on the field to suffer through it.
No discussion about the heroics of yesterday would be complete without taking a swipe at the Ozzies for choking at the death, with a drop catch and a missed run-out costing them the match, but we should also chat about the standard of umpiring so far in the Ashes.
For all of Stokes’ heroics, it could (and should) have come to nothing, with Lyon trapping Stokes plumb in front when England still needed two runs:
The on-field umpire, Joel Wilson, gave it not out, and Tim Paine had squandered Australia’s final review just moments before.
There are two ways of looking at this – the rules state that you get two reviews, which you should use wisely, so Paine and Australia only have themselves to blame.
On the flip side, the umpiring decision cost Australia the match, which would have seen them retain the Ashes, and Joel Wilson has a lot to answer for.
He also had a shocker in the first test of the series, with numerous decisions overturned, and probably shouldn’t have umpired again in the series.
Because he’s earned it, Stokes can have the final word on this front, with this from the Sydney Morning Herald:
“I have seen the DRS on my lbw shout, which obviously shows up with three reds, but DRS has got that completely wrong, as it flicked my front pad first and didn’t spin.
“It shows how crucial it is to make sure you use your reviews. When you get to a situation like that, you still need one. If they had one they would have used it and ended up winning. I still cannot believe it was three reds. I thought, as soon as it hit me, that it was sliding down leg because there was no spin.”
Technology would disagree, Ben, but years down the line those of us who aren’t Australian will only remember the incredible heroics of Headingley 2019.
Nothing cures a hangover better than waking up and remembering you’ve humbled the Ozzies.
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