Sunday People



NEW ZEALAND thought they’d seen the last of

Ben Stokes at a 50-over World Cup after he broke their hearts in 2019.

But now he’s come back to help defend England’s ODI crown in India, starting in October.

And they honestly could not be happier.

Four year’s ago Stokes inspired England to victory at Lord’s in a final which the Kiwis appeared to have in the bag.

Then a stroke of luck plus a sprinkling of genius saw England lift the trophy for the first time.

Shane Jurgensen (below) has been New Zealand’s bowling coach for a decade and was in the dressing room as Stokes worked his miracle in the epic 2019 clash.

And he reckons that a series without Stokes just wouldn’t be the same.

He said: “That game could have gone either way and eventually Ben made the difference – every time I see a scoreboard saying 15 runs from four balls I come out in a cold sweat! He’s a fantastic cricketer, he just has ability to change games.

“The way that he can adapt and read situations – that’s the goal of every cricketer and one of our goals as a team.

“You need to react to different scenarios to get over the line, and I’m not sure that many other cricketers can do that as well as Ben can.

“Looking back in the past, the battles between England and New Zealand have been fantastic.

“Now, on the cusp of another World Cup, I don’t think this will be any different. For England, it will be great to have Ben back in that dressing room. And we’re looking forward to playing against him again, too.”

Stokes, 32, reversed his decision to walk away from 50-over cricket earlier this month.

The expectatio­n is that he will now form part of an England squad attempting to win backto-back World Cup titles.

After a sensationa­l showing against the Aussies, both with the bat and as captain, a repeat success for Stokes could be a fresh legend-defining moment for the England Test skipper.

Jurgensen added: “There’s no doubt – he’s one of the best all-rounders of all time.

“He’s a phenomenal cricketer in all areas. In terms of status, it’s very rare that you have cricketers who can have such impact with the bat, with the ball and in the field.

“He’s one. Some players might lean to being slightly better with the bat or slightly better with the ball.

“But every time Ben has the ball he’s able to take wickets and every time he has the bat in his hands he’s able to change the game.

“Then, if you look back at the 2019 World Cup, the catch he took against South Africa at The Oval, one-handed – that set the tone for England.

“There’s not many players who can do what he does so consistent­ly. He has proved that over a period of time, and he’ll continue to.”

 ?? ??
 ?? Ben Stokes has taken England to another level ?? SCREAM OF THE CROP
Ben Stokes has taken England to another level SCREAM OF THE CROP
 ?? ?? Stokes is a phenomenal cricketer in all areas
Stokes is a phenomenal cricketer in all areas

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