Born on June 04, 1991, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Ben Stokes moved to England at the age of 12, after his father Gerard Stokes was appointed as a head coach of a rugby club there. However, even after his family moved back to New Zealand, Stokes stayed put to pursue his dream of playing cricket for England.
A few years later, he made his debut for England in a One Day International match against Ireland in 2011. A month later, he made his T20I debut against West Indies. Nearly 2 years later, the all-rounder played his first Test and Ashes match in the 2013-14 series. And he has delivered some phenomenal performances over the years carving a place among the game’s finest allrounders.
As the cricketer celebrates his 30th birthday today, we take a look back at his career and list some of his most memorable performances.
102 not out against Australia, Champions Trophy 2017
When Stokes walked out to bat in this crucial group stage encounter of 2017 Champions Trophy, the English team was in the middle of a batting collapse. Down at 35/3 in reply to Australia’s 277/9, England needed heroic innings from Stokes. The stage was set for him to prove his mettle and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Taking on the Aussie bowling, Stokes struck his first ODI century and took his team to victory with help from Eoin Morgan (87) and Joss Butler (29). Stokes hit 2 sixes and 13 fours in his unbeaten 102 runs innings.
84 not out against NewZealand, 2019 World Cup Final
It was the first time since 1992 that the English cricket team was playing an ODI World Cup Final- the closest they had been to their first World Cup. Chasing a target of 242, the English team was 86- 4 and in came Stokes, joining Joss Butler at the middle. The two started playing cautiously and added 110 runs together before Butler was dismissed at 59.
England still needed 46 runs off 32 balls. Despite wickets falling on the other end, Stokes held his nerve and changed gears. With 2 required off the last ball, the innings then ended in a tie.
The Super that followed was also tied after New Zealand equalled England’s score of 15 runs.
The English team was later declared the winner by the rule of boundary count. Ben stokes’ power hitting in the last overs of his 84 runs innings proved to be a crucial factor behind England’s first-ever World Cup victory.
4-26, 2-20 & 85 vs Bangladesh, 1st Test, Chattogram 2016
Stokes’ all-round performance in the first Test against Bangladesh in 2016, proved his credentials as all -condition all-rounder. Stokes claimed 4-26 on a turning wicket and scored 85 while batting in the second innings, helping England to set a target of 285.
In reply, Bangladesh batted well and was inching towards victory before Stokes was brought back in the attack. Claiming two wickets within a space of three balls, Stokes helped his team to register a 22 run victory over the hosts.
135 not out against Australia 3rd Ashes Test, Headingley 2019
What could be regarded as one of the most complete test innings of the recent decades, Ben Stokes 135 against Australia in the 3rd Ashes test of 2019, had every shade. From blocking the ball to a point where he was batting at just 3 runs off the 72 balls he faced, Stokes switched into T20 avatar hitting the Aussie all around the park. From switch-hit to reverse paddle, ferocious hooks, belligerent square-cuts, Ben Stokes played in every single gear that day to help England record their maiden 350+ run-chase in Test match cricket.
258 against South Africa 2016
In his fiery 258 run innings of 198 deliveries against South Africa in 2016, Stokes along with Jonny Bairstow steered his team out of a tricky situation in a match that eventually ended in a high scoring draw. Stokes’ 258, was the highest score by any number 6 batsman in tests, additionally, his 399 -run stand with Bairstow was the highest sixth-wicket stand in Test history.