|Full name||Benjamin Andrew Stokes|
|Born||4 June 1991
Christchurch, New Zealand
|National side||England (2011–present)|
|Test debut (Cap 658)||5 December 2013 v Australia|
|Last Test||16 December 2021 v Australia|
|ODI debut (Cap 221)||25 August 2011 v Ireland|
|Last ODI||13 July 2021 v Pakistan|
|ODI shirt no.||55|
|T20I debut (Cap 58)||23 September 2011 v West Indies|
|Last T20I||20 March 2021 v India|
|T20I shirt no.||55|
Benjamin Andrew Stokes OBE (born 4 June 1991) is an English international cricketer who vice-captains the England cricket team in Test cricket. A left-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium swing bowler, he has captained the England team in both Tests and One Day Internationals. He is considered as one of the best all-rounders in cricket. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Stokes moved to northern England with his parents at the age of 12, where he learnt the game and began playing club cricket for local teams. Stokes was part of the England squad that won the 2019 Cricket World Cup, winning the Man of the Match award in the final.
As a bowler, Stokes consistently bowls at around the 140kph (87 mph) mark and he can also swing the ball. An attacking middle-order batsman, he holds the record for England’s fastest ever Test double-century, the fastest ever Test match 250, and the highest ever score for a Test batsman batting at number six. He also holds the record for the most runs scored by an individual batsman in the morning session of a Test match. Stokes became the highest-paid overseas player in the history of the Indian Premier League in 2017, fetching a record contract of ₹14.5 crore ($2.1 million or £1.7 million); he won the Most Valuable Player award during the season. In January 2020, Stokes was awarded the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Best Cricketer of the Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and three months later was named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for 2019, an award he picked up again the next year.
Stokes was born on 4 June 1991 in New Zealand, the son of rugby league player and coach, the late Gerard Stokes, known as ‘Ged Stokes’, and an English mother, having English and Māori ancestry. He moved to England at the age of 12 after his father was appointed head coach of Workington Town rugby league club, and grew up in the small West Cumbrian town of Cockermouth, attending Cockermouth School and playing cricket for Cockermouth Cricket Club. He won the North Lancashire & Cumbria Cricket League Premier Division Title with the club as a 15 year old in 2006. His parents subsequently moved back to New Zealand to reside again in Christchurch; Ged Stokes died in New Zealand on 8 December 2020.
Stokes made his one-day debut for Durham in 2009 at The Oval and managed to take the wicket of the highly experienced batsman Mark Ramprakash with only his third delivery in professional cricket. He played in two youth Tests against Bangladesh U19 during 2009, in which he made a half-century and took a few wickets. He then went on to play in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup, during which he scored a century against the India Under-19 team.
Stokes made his first-class debut for Durham against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) during the traditional season opener, which for 2010 was taking place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. During that match, he bagged a half-century and took one wicket. At the start of the 2010 County Cricket Season, he also made his Championship debut for Durham when he played in a fixture against Essex. He made his maiden first-class century against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on 13 May 2010. He has also featured for Durham in the Clydesdale Bank 40-over competition. Durham’s continuing problems with many players becoming injured at the start of the 2010 season meant that Stokes continued playing in all forms of the game for Durham. Having had a very successful debut season in first-class cricket, he was given a place in the England Performance Programme and travelled to Australia during the 2010–11 Ashes.
Stokes was a key member of the Durham side that won the 2013 County Championship, and was also named Man of the Match in the final of the 2014 Royal London One-Day Cup Final at Lord’s, having scored 38* and taken 2 wickets in a low-scoring game against Warwickshire.
On 2 January 2015, Stokes joined the Melbourne Renegades of Australia’s Big Bash League for the remainder of the season as a replacement for Jesse Ryder, who was ruled out due to an injury.
On 13 February 2017, Stokes was appointed vice-captain of England’s test team, deputising under Joe Root, who was made captain the same day.
- Indian Premier League
In February 2017, Stokes was bought by Rising Pune Supergiants to play in the Indian Premier League during the 2017 season. He made his maiden Twenty20 century against Gujarat Lions, hitting 103 not out from 63 balls, including hitting seven fours and six sixes. For the 2018 season he moved to Rajasthan Royals having been bought for £1.7million, the most expensive player in the 2018 IPL auction. In October 2020, he scored 107 not out for Rajasthan Royals as part of an unbeaten partnership of 152 with Sanju Samson. During the 2021 IPL, Stokes suffered a finger injury which ruled him out from the entire season after playing in only one match.
- 2011–2012 Ireland, India and New Zealand
Stokes made his senior England debut in a One Day International (ODI) against Ireland in August 2011. Stokes was caught and bowled by Paul Stirling for just three runs and did not bowl; however, he did take a catch.
- 2013–14 Ashes series
Stokes was selected for the England squad for the 2013–14 Ashes series against Australia. He became the 658th player to represent England at Test level. He made his debut in the 2nd Test and took the wickets of Michael Clarke and Peter Siddle before contributing 1 run in England’s first innings. In the second innings, he made 28 runs off 90 balls in England’s loss. He was selected in the 3rd Test and took the wicket of Brad Haddin, he then made 18 off 57 deliveries. In Australia’s second innings he bowled Michael Clarke and took Steve Smith’s wicket. In England’s second innings he made his maiden Test century scoring 120 off 195 balls before being caught. In the first innings of the 4th Test he made 14 runs, then managed to get Shane Watson out. In the second innings he hit 19 runs and took the wicket of David Warner in England’s loss. Stokes took a career-best 6 wickets for 99 runs in the first innings of the 5th Test, including the major wickets of captain Clarke for 10 and top-scorer for the innings Steve Smith for 115. Stokes top scored for England with 47 runs in the first innings to help England limp to 155 all out. In the second innings he made 32 and finished the series on the losing end of a 5–0 whitewash. Stokes enjoyed a solid series however finishing as England’s third-highest run scorer with 279 runs and also second-highest wicket taker with 15 wickets. Stokes was the only English batsman to score a hundred in the series. Stokes was praised for his batting efforts on a typical fast and bouncy Waca surface against hostile fast bowling of Mitchell Johnson at height of his bowling powers. The Guardian described Stokes WACA century as The only welcome positive for the future.
- 2015 Ashes
In the one off T20I against Australia, Stokes took figures of 1–29 as England won by five runs. Stokes played in all five ODIs against Australia, his best performance with the ball coming in the second game of the series where he took figures of 3–60, although England lost the match by 59 runs. During the second ODI match of the series against Australia, Stokes was given out obstructing the field. He became only the sixth batsman to be given out in this manner in an ODI game. While Stokes never took another wicket in the series, his batting did improve. He scored 41 in the fourth ODI which England won by 3 wickets. Although England lost the final ODI to lose the series 3–2, Stokes was one of England’s better performers, scoring 42 of their 138 runs.
- 2015 Pakistan
Stokes was named in the England test squad for the tour against Pakistan hosted in the UAE. In the first test in Abu Dhabi, he took 4–57 with the ball in Pakistan’s first innings before himself scoring 57 with the bat in England’s first innings; the match ultimately ended in a draw when bad light stopped play on the final day. In the second match of the series Stokes was ineffective, taking just one wicket in the match and making scores of 4 and 13 with the bat as England suffered a 127-run defeat. He suffered a shoulder injury in the third and final test in Sharjah, but still batted at number 11 as England ultimately lost the match and with it the series.
- 2015–16 South Africa
Stokes returned to full fitness to take his place in England’s winter tour of South Africa. While Stokes did not make a stand out contribution in the first test, England won by 241 runs. In England’s first innings of the second test in Cape Town, Stokes arrived at the crease with England 167–4, facing a hat-trick ball from Kagiso Rabada. Stokes then hit a career-best score of 258, which included 30 fours and 11 sixes. It was the second fastest double century in the history of test cricket (from 167 balls). His sixth wicket stand with Jonny Bairstow (who himself scored 150 not out) of 399 was a new world record, of which 196 were scored in 25 overs in the morning session on Day 2 alone. Stokes’ innings was ended in bizarre fashion, when after hitting two successive sixes, he was dropped by AB de Villiers only to be run out having paused between the wickets. The match finished in a draw with the batsmen dominating the game. In the third Test Stokes took five wickets as England won, securing a series victory for England. The fourth and final match of the series was won by South Africa, although Stokes did take another five wickets, including 4–86 in South Africa’s first innings.
In the first Test against India, Stokes made 128 in England’s first innings to help them reach 537. He took one wicket in India’s first innings, before making an unbeaten 29. The match ended in a draw. In the second Test he finished with figures of 1–73 in India’s first innings, before making 70 with the bat. He was out for six in England’s second innings as they lost by 246 runs. In the third Test he made 29 in England’s first innings, and then took 5–73 in India’s first innings. After making five in the second innings, Stokes failed to pick up another wicket as England suffered another defeat. In the fourth Test he made 31 in England’s first innings score of 400, but failed to pick up a wicket or make an impression in England’s second innings as they lost by an innings and 36 runs. In the final match of the series, Stokes picked up just one wicket and scored 29 runs in the match as England lost by an innings and 75 runs. For his performances in 2016, he was named in the World Test XI by the ICC and Cricinfo. He was also named in the ODI XI of the year 2016 by Cricinfo.
- 2017 South Africa, Champions Trophy and West Indies
Stokes scored his second ODI century against South Africa in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy, and in the tournament itself his third, against Australia. He was also named as part of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ at the 2017 Champions Trophy by the ICC.
He scored 299 runs, including a century at The Oval, and took 7 wickets in a four Test series against South Africa. In a three Test series against West Indies, he scored 228 runs and took 9 wickets. At Headingley, in the second Test, he scored his fourth Test century, and at Lord’s in the third, he took a career best 6–22 with the ball.
- 2019 Cricket World Cup
In April 2019, Stokes was named in England’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
In the opening match of the tournament against South Africa, he made a score of 89 runs from 79 balls, claimed two wickets, ran out Dwaine Pretorius and took two catches to be declared “Man of the Match” in a comprehensive 104-run win for England. His catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo has been described as “one of the greatest catches of all time”.
Stokes produced multiple standout performances with the bat later in the group stage. Stokes was left stranded on 82*, as England were bowled out for 212 in a surprise 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka. He again proved to be the only resistance to Australia’s bowling attack in their following match, by scoring 89 runs in a chase of 286. England ultimately fell short by 64 runs as they were bowled out for 221. In a must-win match against India in the following group match, Stokes played a very important innings, scoring a quick-fire 79 runs in 54 balls, as England won by 31 runs.
In the final against New Zealand, he scored 84*, including 2 sixes in the final over (one traditional and one due to overthrows after a ball bounced off Stokes’ bat to the boundary), to tie the game. He then batted in the super over with Jos Buttler, which again was a tie, but England won the match on the boundary countback rule then in place. For this performance, he was named man of the match for the second time in the tournament.
He was named in the “Team of the Tournament” for the 2019 World Cup by the ICC.
- 2019 Ashes
Faced with an incisive Australian bowling attack and Bradmanesque batting contribution from Steve Smith, Stokes played a pivotal role in enabling England ultimately to draw the 2019 Ashes series 2–2 (although Australia thereby retained the urn). In the third test at Headingley, England appeared to be heading for certain defeat after they were bowled out for 67 in their first innings. Stokes managed to overturn an overnight Australian lead, hitting 11 fours and 8 sixes to win with an unbeaten 135* in a record pursuit of 359. His innings has been described as “one of the greatest innings of all time” and the “greatest ever played by an Englishman”. Stokes’s innings was rated by Wisden as the Greatest hundred of the decade (2010’s).
He was named as England’s player of the series as he ended the series as England’s top run-scorer with 441 runs with 2 hundreds and 2 fifties, while also taking 8 wickets.
- 2019 New Zealand
Stokes continued on his good form into the tour of New Zealand. He made scores of 91 and 28 as England slumped to an innings defeat in the first test match of the series. He then made 26 runs in his only innings in the next test, as England drew the match to lose the series.
He was named as the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, ICC Player of the Year at the 2019 ICC Awards.
- 2019–20 South Africa
Stokes’ form continued into 4-test match tour of South Africa, as he was named player of the series after scoring 318 runs and taking 10 wickets. Following defeat in the first test, Stokes put in a “man of the match” performance in the 2nd test. He made scores of 47 and 72, with the latter from only 47 balls, to set South Africa a target of 437. Stokes then managed to break the host’s resistance, as they fought to draw the game, by taking the final 3 wickets to bowl them out for 248 runs to level the series. In the following match, his first innings score of 120 was crucial in setting up an innings win for England, which meant they took a 2–1 lead in the series going into the final test match. Stokes only made 2 and 28 runs in the final test, but he did take 4 wickets in the match, as England won by 191 runs to secure a second consecutive away series win against South Africa.
- 2020 West Indies
On 17 June 2020, Stokes was included in England’s 30-man squad to start training behind closed doors for the Test series against the West Indies. Stokes was named as captain for one of the teams in the official inter-squad warm-up match. In the absence of regular captain Joe Root (due to the birth of his child), it was announced that as vice-captain, Stokes would therefore captain England for the first time. Prior to being named captain, Stokes had never led a side in a first-class, List A or Twenty20 cricket match.In the first Test, Stokes took his 150th wicket, to become the sixth cricketer to score 4,000 runs and take 150 wickets in Tests, and in the first innings of the second Test, Stokes scored 176 runs, to record his tenth century in Test cricket.
- 2021 Stand-in captain, break, and the Ashes
During the 2021 season, the England limited-over squad suffered a COVID outbreak at the end of a limited overs series against Sri Lanka. The whole squad, including the captain Eoin Morgan, had to self-isolate just before a home series against Pakistan. Stokes had not played against Sri Lanka due to injury, leaving him as the most senior player for the Pakistan ODI matches, for which he was named captain. He led the inexperienced team, in which he had almost four times as many ODI appearances as the rest of the team combined, to a nine-wicket victory in the first match. In the next game of the series against Pakistan, Stokes played in his 100th ODI match.
On 30 July 2021, it was announced that Stokes would take an “indefinite break” from cricket. In October 2021, Stokes was added to England’s squad for the 2021–22 Ashes series in Australia.
Stokes became engaged to Clare Ratcliffe in 2013. They married in East Brent, Somerset in October 2017. They have two children.Stokes has a tattoo of a family of lions, symbolising his own family, covering his entire back. Stokes and his mother received damages in 2021 from The Sun, who in 2019 had run a front-page story about a family tragedy which was argued to not be in the public interest.
Records and achievements
- Man of the Final in Cricket World Cup – 2019
- Second-fastest Test double hundred in terms of balls faced.
- Fastest 250 in Tests for which he took only 196 balls.
- Second highest number of sixes in a Test innings – 11 sixes
- Most runs in a Test innings at the sixth position – 258 runs
- Most runs in the first session of a day in Tests – 130 runs
- Highest Test partnership for the sixth wicket. He achieved this feat against South Africa when he made a partnership of 399 runs with Jonny Bairstow.
- Became the second cricketer after Ian Botham to have over 4,000 runs and over 100 wickets in Tests for England.
- He was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Allerdale on 25 September 2019.
- He was awarded the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Aberdeen.
- Stokes was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to cricket.
- Cricket World Cup Winner 2019
- He was named as the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in both the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Almanack.