There’s not really much of a connection between Football and Cricket. It could either be that players who play either Cricket or Football may happen to excel in both or the more convenient and logical answer would be that both sports happen to be focused on or centred around the ‘ball.’ But wait till you bring Ben Stokes into the picture. There’ll be a new dimension.
Only a few hours back did Ben Stokes play arguably the most important Test knock of his entire career. In striking an unbeaten 135 and holding onto an end before a brilliantly cracked boundary toward the covers got England their first triumph in the Ashes, the New Zealand-born all-rounder became a darling of the media.
Stokes’ sensational batting that took England over the line against a keenly hunting Australia fetched great plaudits from Mr Steve Bruce, the manager of Newcastle United Football club.
In fact, it must be said that Stokes catapulted to the global headlines, all cricket playing nations and even those with minuscule interest in cricket lauding Ben Stokes’ heroic effort.
What made Stokes’ belligerent batting in the Third Test, held at Leeds popular was that it didn’t seem that England were contesting for a win. Well, not when the scoreboard revealed 8 for 286, with the team needing another 73 to win with only 2 wickets in the stock.
Yet, Stokes’ commendable batting, laced by an effort that lasted for 219 balls and 330 minutes made the inning worth many a watch- or should it be said, worth every rerun on YouTube in the times ahead?
While surely Stokes has battled his way to a bigger statistical gathering in the past, in the form of his famous 258, a big score that came against a South African bowling attack, the significance of this knock won’t be forgotten in the times to come.
That a special hundred was constructed in the biggest cricketing rivalry of them all makes it all the more special and savoury. And that Stokes garnered appreciation from the world outside of cricket speaks of the significance of his wizardry with the bat.
Mr Steve Bruce lavished effusive praise on the Kiwi all-rounder and stated the following:
I don’t know what was more nervous. The last 10 minutes of the cricket or this (match). Ben Stokes can play centre-half for us next week that’s for sure. How wonderful it was to watch. (The cricket) was just on. They (Newcastle) had gone for a warm-up and there’s nothing you can do then. I usually sit and read the programme. But how could I not watch? The kitman was running around … saying ‘We need 27, we’ve got to put it on.’
“It was wonderful entertainment, worth watching.”
The fact that this wasn’t the only recent occasion where a Stokes special took England home makes the Leeds heroical act unforgettable. A month and a half back when England took on New Zealand at the Final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Ben Stokes remained not out until the very end, carving many a boundary on his way to a match-winning 84.
The six that he plundered in the very fading moments of the high-octane final encounter proved a critical turning point in England’s cricketing journey.
With 2 more Tests remaining before the completion of the 2019 Ashes, one can’t wait to see Stokes take the strike and score more runs.