Former England skipper Andrew Strauss opened up on an off-field incident involving Ben Stokes that helped transform the cricket culture in England, and in hindsight, could have had a big hand in their triumph at the World Cup 2019, at home.
Strauss, who is currently serving as the Director of Cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed that in 2017, Stokes was involved in a career-threatening incident. He got into a brawl outside of a night-club in Bristol and had to be left out of England’s Ashes squad consequently.
This, in turn, had a significant impact on the balance of the side, as they failed to adjust to the absence of Stokes and went down badly against Australia. Strauss revealed how this whole fiasco helped create a new mindset within all English players.
“In retrospect, I think what happened with Ben Stokes was a blessing in disguise because it helped the players value the culture bit. They realized it’s not one of those things that the coach or the director wants us to do, but it is something which either takes us close to winning or take us away from it,” Strauss stated.
💬It was brutally tough for Ben but I think he is better for the experience. The England culture is better for the experience💬
Sir Andrew Strauss says the Bristol incident in 2017 improved Ben Stokes and England.
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) April 5, 2020
He continued, “So we had Joe Root and Eoin Morgan buying into it, and the England players took it seriously, and by the time the World Cup came there were these set of rules, well rules might not be the right word, it was about the way you were as an England player. That you were not just judged by your performance but also how you were as an England player.”
The former left-handed batsman was full of praise for Stokes, who became a better person, and a better cricketer after 2017, and played a big role in England’s historical World Cup 2019 victory at the Lord’s against New Zealand.