NASSER HUSSAIN: Ben Stokes won my vote for world cricketer of the year

NASSER HUSSAIN: Peerless Ben Stokes won my vote for world cricketer of the year… hands down!

  • England’s Ben Stokes was named Garry Sobers Player of the Year on Wednesday
  • He was hands down the top player, providing ‘wow’ moments consistently
  • The World Cup final and the third Ashes Test win were just two of the best 

When the ICC asked me to vote for my world cricketer of the year, it was an absolute no-brainer. I just ticked the box that said Ben Stokes.

It was no surprise to me on Wednesday when Stokes was duly named the Garry Sobers Player of the Year, as my fellow judges must have had the same opinion as me.

Just look at what he has done. The World Cup final. The Headingley Test. Various stunning catches. So many things stay in your mind and surely the point of sport is to provide ‘wow’ moments. There can be few who provided as many last year as Stokes.

Ben Stokes was hands down the top world cricketer of the year after his many achievements

The World Cup final, the Test at Headingley, and many other moments put him on top

Ben can adapt his game to any conditions and bat in different ways. You would never hear him say, ‘That’s the way I play’, after getting out.

We have said in these pages that Stokes’ stats could be better — and Graham Thorpe told us last week that he should be averaging 45 — but what Ben has done is shown that what a cricketer can do for a team is worth much more than mere numbers.

Stokes has provided so many career-defining moments already. Nobody, for instance, believed that Headingley 1981 could ever happen again, but then Ben went and did it. Even Sir Ian Botham said last summer was better than his own miracle in Leeds.

And before that there was vindication of four years of hard work when Stokes inspired England to their World Cup triumph. Can you imagine the pressure he was under towards the end of that final against New Zealand at Lord’s? And he was able to think and make big decisions with such clarity before delivering under that pressure. 

Stokes lifts the World Cup trophy after his heroic efforts throughout the tournament

ICC TEST TEAM OF THE YEAR 

Mayank Agarwal (India), Tom Latham (NZ), Marnus Labuschagne (Aus), Virat Kohli (Ind; captain), Steve Smith (Aus), Ben Stokes (Eng), BJ Watling (NZ; wkt), Pat Cummins (Aus), Mitchell Starc (Aus), Neil Wagner (NZ), Nathan Lyon (Aus)

In batting order

ICC ODI TEAM OF THE YEAR 

Rohit Sharma (India), Shai Hope (WI), Virat Kohli (India; capt), Babar Azam (Pakistan), Kane Williamson (NZ), Ben Stokes (Eng), Jos Buttler (Eng; wkt), Mitchell Starc (Aus), Trent Boult (NZ), Mohammed Shami (India), Kuldeep Yadav (India)

In batting order

You only have to look back to the start of this year and his match-winning spell at the end of the second Test in Cape Town to say Stokes always delivers when it is most needed. And there was his earlier batting and catching at Newlands. He wins games for his country.

Stokes ticks every box you could want him to, as a cricket fan, player or coach, and he gives his all for the team all the time. He wants to be where the ball is most likely to go in the field and he wants to bowl when a wicket is most needed.

Stokes told Joe Root last week he would not be able to get the ball out of his hand until the Test was won, and he duly won it. ‘You’re not taking me off,’ he said, and that’s the attitude you want in any cricketer.

On this tour, Ben has had the added pressure of serious illness to his father and there is no doubt he has had a rollercoaster ride to get where he is now. To be able to put any issues he has had to one side and concentrate on cricket is another of his qualities.

He always practises with purpose and puts in an extra hour virtually every session. Any young player who wants to know what work is required to be an international cricketer should just come along and see how Ben Stokes does it.

England’s players love Stokes and he will always do what’s best for them. And who would bet against him doing something special again here in Port Elizabeth over the next five days. He was the overwhelming choice for player of the cricketing year.

Stokes celebrates his amazing innings which won the third Ashes Test against Australia




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