Jayawardene: I feel sorry for Stokes
Allrounder Ben Stokes has spoken about the “complete devastation” he felt after the last over of the World T20 final when Carlos Brathwaite had taken him for four consecutive sixes to snatch the title away from England.
In the immediate aftermath of the conclusion to the final, Stokes admitted trying to block out the emotions and he said it is only since returning home that he has really reflected on what took place.
The final over began with West Indies needing 19 to win and England favourites despite having struggled to 155 for 9 with the bat. But then Brathwaite swung Stokes’ first delivery over deep square leg, then connected sweetly against two full deliveries to suddenly level the scores and leave a distraught Stokes with his head in his hands.
“I thought, ‘I’ve just lost the World Cup’. I couldn’t believe it,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “I didn’t know what to do. It took me so long to get back on my feet. I didn’t want to get back up. It was like the whole world had come down on me. There weren’t any good things going through my mind. It was just complete devastation.”
“It is probably only now really that all the emotions have started to come out about it. I couldn’t reflect on it at the time. There was just shock.”
Stokes had developed his reputation as a death bowler during the tournament with important spells against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. He said he did not panic after the first ball of the last over had cleared the boundary and was still backing himself to defend 7 off 4 before being crushed by the third six.
“It was not until they needed one off three that I knew the game was gone. When they needed seven I was still backing myself to get us over the line but I just couldn’t. It was amazing hitting. I just did not execute what I wanted to do.”
A host of current and former players – not just from England – have come out in support of Stokes, praising his desire to be the man under pressure at the end, and he said he would not have a second thought about putting himself back in that position.
“A hundred per cent. Definitely. It is something I work at a lot. Some days they go well. Some days they don’t. That was a bad day but I won’t be shying away from it. You almost want it to happen because if you nail it everyone forgets.”
Stokes was at the centre of another spat with Marlon Samuels during the final – Samuels was fined 30% of his match fee for foul language – and Samuels was far from glowing about Stokes during his post-match press conference. Stokes has no issue with how events transpired and acknowledged Samuels played “a brilliant” innings.
He also revealed that Brathwaite, who was fulsome in his praise of Stokes, had asked for a signed shirt.
“We did not have a beer with them afterwards but Brathwaite came up to me and asked for a shirt. He is a brilliant lad. I wanted to make sure I spoke to them and say well done because I did not want people to think I was bitter. I wished them all the best. It is about respect to the opposition.”
Stokes will return to action for Durham on April 24 in their County Championship match against Middlesex.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo