Ben Stokes - From WT20 final zero to IPL 2017 hero
From being gutted after conceding 24 runs in the final over of April's World T20 finale vs WI, to becoming the highest paid overseas player in IPL history yesterday, Ben Stokes is...
England's Ben Stokes reacts after being hit for four consecutive sixes in the World T20 final against West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3, 2016. Pic/AFP
Bangalore: Less than a year ago, on the night of April 3, 2016 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, England all-rounder Ben Stokes was in the depths of despair. West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite had just clubbed him for four sixes in four balls for West Indies to lift their second World T20 title and a stunned Stokes struggled to get off the ground.
The 6, 6, 6, 6 sequence which emerged from Brathwaite's broad bat changed Stokes' life forever.
But after yesterday's IPL Player Auction where he was picked up by Rising Pune Supergiants, the 6, 6, 6, 6 chain probably got replaced with Rs 14.5 crore in his mind space.
Statistical infamy turned into joy in 10 months. That's why the willow game is so fascinatingly unpredictable.
"Really excited to be joining up with @punesupergiants in the @iplt20 this year, always looks a amazing competition and can't wait for the experience," was all Stokes said on social media. Probably, the price tag left him tongue-tied; maybe it's not sunk in yet.
In an interview with The Telegraph in the UK four days after that April 2016 final, Stokes said, "I didn't want to get back up (from the ground). 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."
Brathwaite did the damage in the last over, but his partner Marlon Samuels held things together with a fine, unbeaten 85.
The Jamaican and Stokes had their share of gamesmanship at the Eden Gardens and Samuels won in the end.
Ben Stokes. Pic/AFP
Yesterday, at the auction room in Bangalore, the scoreline was more than just pole's apart. Stokes: Rs 14.5 crore, Samuels: 0. Like Stokes at the Eden Gardens, the Jamaican was not picked up.
'Really excited to be joining up with @punesupergiants in the @iplt20 this year, always looks a amazing competition and can't wait for the experience' -- Ben Stokes on Twitter