Why leading England is a big deal for Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes was the leader behind England’s dominant 3-0 series win over Pakistan. The England captain considered it as a chance too big to turn down. Eoin Morgan typically held down the T20 captaincy role but with him unavailable, Stokes stepped in.
Stokes had a left index finger injury that he suffered in club play. He still felt the pain during the series against Pakistan but Stokes wanted to make sure he tackled the opportunity that was given to him. It was an unusual time for him to step in but he wanted to represent the Three Lions well.
The England captain talked about how his finger is doing. He said, ‘It was a totally unexpected set of games for me and the truth is I would never have played under normal circumstances due to how much pain I was in with my left index finger. The surgery was a success after I had broken it at the IPL, but it was still so painful. Sometimes though you just have to grin and bear it, and captaining England is one of those reasons’.
Changing the entire squad was a tough task
The Pakistan series showed why England is a strong team. They didn’t have the majority of their squad but the reserve England players stepped up in their absence. It was a stellar time for the England cricket team because it proved that even the reserves are world-class.
Pakistan is a strong team but sweeping them with a lesser lineup is a big morale booster for the England system. If they can beat a strong team like Pakistan with these issues, they can beat any team in the world with a fully stacked lineup.
England is the reigning Cricket World Cup champion and they need to prove why they have the crown. If they can get everyone healthy and safe, you can expect England will continue to ride this wave after a few months of bad results. They are motivated and they are ready to prove themselves as the best team in the world against squads like India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Stokes will be a big part of that in other formats but Morgan will likely return to his post as the T20 captain when he gets healthy from his ailments.
Stokes takes inspiration from Morgan
As the two most influential athletes in the England system, Stokes and Morgan have a good relationship. They have reached great heights as athletes and Stokes loves what Morgan has done for the Three Lions.
Stokes sees Morgan as an inspiration to keep going in cricket. That kind of link is special and most players should learn to appreciate and learn from their peers so they can improve as well.
'It will take another unusual set of circumstances for me to get the chance to captain England across a whole series again, but I’m pleased with the way I managed it and that also has a lot to do with Morgs and the way he has rubbed off on me’, Stokes said. ‘He has been the perfect example of how to captain a side both on and off the field, so it is fair to say he had a pretty big impact on the series even in isolation’.
It will be fun to look forward to how England will adjust when the full squad returns. They have the momentum and they need to take advantage of it for their future games.
Words: Cholo Martin