Club crick­eter who fired up Ben Stokes

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOSH JACKMAN

CLUB CRICK­ETER Steven Rein­gold played a key role in preparing English all-rounder Ben Stokes for his record­break­ing in­nings of 258 in the sec­ond Test against South Africa.

Af­ter bats­man Stokes was dis­missed by off-spin­ner Dane Piedt dur­ing the first Test last week, 17-year-old Steven in­ter­rupted a fam­ily hol­i­day in Cape Town to an­swer an SOS call from Eng­land bat­ting coach and Stan­more CC col­league Mark Ram­prakash.

The coach wanted an off-spinn er to bowl to Eng­land’ s front line stars in the nets and the JFS pupil bowled to seven of the team dur­ing an “amaz­ing, dream-like” 40-minute ses­sion last Fri­day.

“To be with 11 fa­mous peo­ple who I look up to was ab­so­lutely some­thing that doesn’t nor­mally hap­pen,” he said.

Al­though nerv- ous, Steven even got York­shire bats­man Joe Root out dur­ing the ses­sion.

“They con­cen­trate very hard, so you don’t really speak to them. But they’re very nice guys. If you bowl well, they’ll tell you,” Steven added.

Just 48 hours af­ter the net ses­sion, Stokes went on to com­plete his re­mark­able dou­ble cen­tury — the fastest-ever by an English­man.

Steven was too mod­est to claim any credit for Stokes’s in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance: “My mum’s been say­ing things about Stokes be­cause of his in­nings, but that wasn’t me.”

Born in South Africa — his cricket-mad fam­ily moved to Lon­don when he was two — Steven was root­ing for the hosts. “That’s where my heart is. When Eng­land play we sup­port them, but when they play each other it has to be South Africa.”

Al­though Steven was at the New­lands ground on the first day of the Test to see the start of Stokes’s in­nings, he missed its con­clu­sion as he had to fly home for the new school term.

It is not the first time he has been called up for an Eng­land prac­tice ses­sion, hav­ing also bowled to the Ash­eswin­ning team in June.

The ex­pe­ri­ences have en­cour­aged him to con­sider a fu­ture in the game.

He said: “That would be the dream. This has in­spired me. They’re the peo­ple I look up to.”

Steven also plays for Mid­dle­sex un­der­19s and was part of Bri­tain’s sil­ver medal­win­ning ju­nior cricket squad at the 2013 Mac­cabiah Games.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Ben Stokes cel­e­brates his dou­ble cen­tury

Steven Rein­gold

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