From Being down and out to a national Hero: The Story of Redemption:
The four sixes which cost England the T20 World cup of 2016 brought along with it humiliation for the English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who had the misfortune of bowling the ominous last over against Carlos Braithwaite. For many people, a night like the one Ben Stokes went through on 3rd of April in 2016, would mean the end of their careers. However, the English all-rounder believes in redemption, the redemption which came to kiss his feet many times since.
The criminal of the 2016 T20 World cup final who conceded 4 back to back sixes took his time but when he came back, he became a force to reckon with. 2019 was the year when the 31-year old started washing the blames off him.
It was only fitting for Stokes to get his redemption on a stage as grand as the one in 2016, after the woeful 4 balls at the Eden Gardens, the balls the New Zealand-born will never forget, the balls no bowler in the World would ever like to deliver.
The World cup final of 2019 which was played between England and New Zealand presented the all-rounder with a chance to recoup what he lost in Kolkata three years ago. Like any man desperate to prove his worth again, the left-handed batter cashed the chance with both hands by scoring an unbeaten 84-off-98. He remained standing as the only man from his side. When the match progressed to the super over, it was Stokes who was trusted by his Skipper to achieve the target of 16 runs. In any normal situation, this match would have been enough to acquit the English cricketer from all the blame of losing a trophy in 2016, but the rollercoaster of events that took place at the home of cricket that day were too nerve-wracking to think of anything else.
Fast forward to Ashes 2019, the English team lost the first match against arch-rivals, Australia, the second was tied, the third match between both nations was a potential epoch-maker. Again, Ben Stokes saved the day for his side by scoring an unbeaten 135 runs adorned with 8 sixes and 11 fours. Stokes, who came in after 4 English wickets were down and scorecard read 141, forced people out of their houses to witness his phenomenal stay on crease at the Headingley Stadium, scripting the then highest (now 2nd highest) successful run chase for England in tests.
By that time, Stokes had gained almost all of his reputation as a brilliant all-rounder back but he did not stop. Winning a trophy and a historic test match for his team was not enough for him.
Two years forward from the 3rd Ashes test in 2019, the English test captain found himself again at the crease while his team was struggling against the deadly bowling lineup of Pakistan. A T20 World cup final, his team relying on him, the match slipping out of the hands with each delivery, everything was like how it was back in 2016, everything except Stokes himself.
If there was a moment where he could wash off every criticism and blame he had been receiving since the harrowing night in Kolkata, this was it. Stokes defended his wicket in front of Pakistan’s brilliant pacers and kept on scoring slowly to reach the target and guide his side home once again. What started for Stokes miles away in Kolkata, years ago was ended this time by him, but on a note which will remain a highlight of his career and a memory to reminisce after he hangs his boots.