Andrew Strauss insists Ben Stokes must learn to cope with the adulation of emerging as the hero of England’s World Cup final triumph after completing his tale of redemption at Lord’s.
Stokes struck an unbeaten 84 against New Zealand on Sunday to force a super over in which he and Jos Buttler scored 15 to help the hosts set up the most dramatic of victories.
The 28-year-old’s pivotal innings came less than a year after he was found not guilty of affray following a late-night brawl in Bristol, an incident that forced him to miss an Ashes series and placed his future in doubt.
At the time Strauss was director of England cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board and was present when Stokes was released from his police cell before helping guide him through the aftermath.
And the former England captain, who on Tuesday announced that Lord’s will be turning red for day two of the second Ashes Test on August 15 in aid of the Ruth Strauss Foundation, sensed early on that the all-rounder would go on to flourish.
“What will be hard for Ben going forward is the levels of adulation he’ll receive,” Strauss said.
“That was a burden for Freddie Flintoff – he often lived up to it and that was great, but increasingly you are under more and more pressure to be the man every time you play and that is a big burden.
“You know what, I just remember going down to the police station with Ben. I spent a long time with Clare, his wife, waiting for him to come out of the…jail.
“What struck me as soon as he came out was actually his character. Because he stood up and said, ‘I’ve got this horribly wrong. I apologise sincerely for what I’ve done here’.
“From that moment on, I thought this was going to be a good thing for him. But I also thought this was going to be very noisy and very hard for us to navigate.
“It was very hard to know which way it was going to go. People can go two ways after something like that happens to them.
“Anyone who knows Ben and who has played with him knows what an incredible person he is to have on your team.
“What we’ve seen is some of those rough edges just smoothed a little bit over the last 12 or 18 months without him losing that incredible desire and hunger to win.
“It’s an easy story to say what happened in the World Cup final is redemption for him, but I just think it was one of English cricket’s talents showing what he can do on the greatest stage.”
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New Zealand coach Gary Stead believes sharing the World Cup in the event of a tie in the final should come under consideration after his side were denied the title in agonising fashion.
England matched the Kiwis’ 241 in a breathless conclusion at Lord’s and the sides could not then be separated after a super over, the tournament hosts only prevailing by virtue of registering more boundaries across the contest.
While Stead was as magnanimous in defeat as captain Kane Williamson had been on Sunday, he questioned whether a tournament that spanned 46 days should be decided by such narrow parameters.
And when asked whether the International Cricket Council should award both sides the crown in the event of a tie, Stead said: “I’m sure when they were writing the rules they never expected a World Cup final like that.
“I’m sure it’ll be reviewed. Perhaps when you play over a seven-week period and you can’t be separated on the final day then that is something that should be considered.
“But that’s one consideration over a whole lot of things that went on over the World Cup.
“It’s a very, very hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs and score the same amount of runs and still lose the game, but that’s the technicalities of sport.
“It’s unfortunate it comes down to one ball right at the end of the tournament when we’ve been here for seven weeks playing some really good cricket. It will be raw for a long time.”
New Zealand had some luck go against them, most notably when Martin Guptill’s throw at the stumps saw a diving Ben Stokes inadvertently deflect the ball away to the boundary via his bat.
Six runs were added to the total, but former international umpire Simon Taufel said on Monday morning that England should have been awarded only five because Stokes and Adil Rashid had not crossed when the throw was released.
A law in the MCC’s rulebook would seem to back up the ex-official’s view, but Stead commented: “I didn’t actually know that. The umpires are there to rule and they’re human as well and, like players, sometimes errors are made.
“It’s just the human aspect of sport and probably why we all care about it so much as well. We can’t change that now. It will go down in history as one that got away from us.”
Asked about the prevailing mood in the dressing room afterwards, Stead added: “There was a lot of dejection and almost bewilderment around ‘how did that happen?’ and ‘why has it happened this way?’
“Everyone will react to it over time, but I imagine most of our guys will hit the wall for about a week or so and feel pretty down about things. But they shouldn’t, we should be really proud of what they have achieved.
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It was supposed to be a World Cup dominated by wrist-spinners but it ended up anything but in the end as pacers ruled the roost in England.
Wrist-spinners had taken limited-overs cricket by storm over the past two years or so and had emerged as a popular wicket-taking option in the middle-overs for several top sides.
However, their impact in the 2019 World Cup was barely felt with the conditions in England not really playing to their strengths.
It was the fast bowlers who dominated the wicket-taking charts instead with no spinner featuring among the top 18 wicket-takers in the tournament.
At 19th spot, India’s Yuzvendra Chahal finished as the leading wicket-taker among all spinners with 12 scalps to his name.
Here, we take a closer look at how the top wrist-spinners in business performed in the World Cup.
Yuzvendra Chahal (India)
Chahal was more prolific than his wrist-spin twin Kuldeep Yadav but the senior bowler still performed well below expectations in the tournament.
His start to the tournament was a strong one with a four-wicket haul against South Africa but his performances declined drastically in the latter stages.
He was taken to the cleaners by England’s batsmen and conceded 88 runs in the match and had an expensive outing in the semi-final loss to New Zealand as well where he returned with figures of 1-63.
Imran Tahir (South Africa)
If one takes economy-rate into account, the South African veteran was the best of the lot among all wrist-spinners in the tournament.
However, it wasn’t really the perfect swansong for Tahir in England and he would have wanted to sign off with some more wickets to his name.
While he did pick up 11 wickets overall, the veteran wasn’t really effective against the four sides who qualified for the semi-finals. In the four clashes against England, New Zealand, India and Australia, Tahir was able to muster only three scalps in total.
Adil Rashid (England)
The England leg-spinner blew hot and cold throughout the tournament although he did get better towards the business end.
Rashid was one of the more expensive wrist-spinners on show and went at nearly run-a-ball over the course of the World Cup.
His best display came in the semi-final against Australia where he picked up a three-wicket haul while he also put in a tidy wicketless display in the final.
With England’s pacers firing on all cylinders, Rashid did not really have to be at his best and he did a decent job in a supporting role.
Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
The Pakistan leg-spinner came into the World Cup after recovering from a viral illness and performed admirably without being sensational.
His only poor outing came against India where he went wicketless while conceding 61 runs but he came into his own in the latter stages when Pakistan went on a four-match winning run.
It was the maiden World Cup campaign for the youngster and Pakistan will be satisfied with what they saw of him in England.
Kuldeep Yadav (India)
The India wrist-spinner came into the tournament on the back of a disappointing IPL campaign and that reflected in his displays which were well short of standard.
Although he was economical, Kuldeep failed to bring the wicket-taking threat expected of him and finished with an overall tally of just six. His wicket-taking struggles were underlined by the fact that all-rounder Hardik Pandya managed to pick up 10 of them and was a bigger theat.
Expensive outings against England and Sri Lanka ultimately cost Kuldeep a place in the playing XI for the semi-final and he will be disappointed by his overall performance.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The Afghanistan leg-spin sensation came in with a huge reputation as the No1 ranked T20I bowler but he had a tournament to forget by all accounts.
He could fetch only six wickets in his nine outings and averaged nearly 70 with the ball in hand. He is usually one of the most economical bowlers on show but he failed to contain runs as well in a dismal campaign.
Rashid created records for all the wrong reasons after being taken for 110 runs in just nine overs in the clash against England with Eoin Morgan going on a rampage.
It was the most expensive figures by any bowler in World Cup history and second-most overall in ODIs.
Adam Zampa (Australia)
Zampa was expected to be Australia’s leading spinner in the World Cup but the leggie was replaced by Nathan Lyon in the playing XI midway through the tournament.
The 27-year-old was the most expensive among all wrist-spinners while three of his five wickets came in the win over Afghanistan.
He had a dismal outing in Australia’s win over Bangladesh and was consigned to the bench for the rest of the tournament.