A ‘Versatile’ KL Rahul is a Much Bigger Asset

KL Rahul has been in red-hot form for quite some time. The lad from Karnataka has been churning out fifties at a rate of knots. Shikhar Dhawan’s absence from the side ( because of recurring injuries) has been a blessing in disguise for KL Rahul.

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He might appear a bit frantic at first in 50-over cricket, but he makes batting look ridiculously easy once he gets in. Also, he is equally good at smacking the bowlers around in 20-over cricket. 

To top it all, KL Rahul seems to have come of age. His talent was never in question, but talent alone cannot help you win matches. You need to be able to score consistently if you want to make your presence felt. 

Now, consistency is not everybody’s cup of tea. You cannot showcase consistency if your position in the batting order is insecure, but KL Rahul seems to have learnt a lot about versatility at a young age.

His place in the batting order had been a matter of debate for quite some time. Surprisingly, the lad from Karnataka has turned into a multi-purpose cricketer. He can share the opening duties with Rohit Sharma if need be. Batting in the middle order isn’t a problem either. Furthermore, he has been keeping wickets for his side. To put things simply, he has been punching well above his weight and you cannot ask for anything more, can you? 

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Back in January this year, KL Rahul was seen smashing the Aussie bowlers all around the park in Rajkot. His 52-ball 80 took his side to a score of 340. The thing that stood out was: Rahul batted at five, which isn’t his regular position in the batting order. Furthermore, he went about his business without consuming too many deliveries. Rahul, who started out as an opener, seems to have grown accustomed to playing in the middle order. Harsha Bhogle spoke at length about KL Rahul’s versatility while commentating. Here’s what the Tweet from the veteran commentator said:

Well, KL Rahul did not have much to choose as the opening partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has been in the limelight for quite some time. Till date, Sharma and Dhawan have scored more than 4500 runs while batting together. Therefore, the team’s think tank never felt the need to look beyond Dhawan and Sharma.

Now that Shikhar Dhawan is facing injury concerns, the team’s think tank wants Mayank Agarwal and Prithwi Shaw to work together as openers, which means Rahul might not get too many opportunities to open the innings once Rohit Sharma is back. But now he can cement his place in the batting order because he is a specialist batsman that can keep wickets.

How is a versatile KL Rahul helpful?

A wicket-keeper batsman is an added plus: It is always good to have a wicket-keeper batsman in the top five. At present, Rahul is batting at five, which means a couple of all-rounders can be sent in at six and seven. Once Hardik Pandya is match fit, he can be sent in at six followed by Jadeja at seven. Having two genuine all-rounders in the line up will not only lend stability and depth to the batting order, but will also allow the captain to go into the match with as many as six bowling options.

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The opener that can don many hats: 

The ‘multi-purpose’ batsman: You can ask him to share the opening duties with Rohit Sharma if need be. Batting at number four/five isn’t a problem either. Having a jack of many trades, that can bat according to the team’s requirement, happens to be an added plus. Want someone to bat at four and keep the ship afloat? Rahul is there to do the job for you. Want someone to bat in the middle order and score a quickfire 70? Rahul will do it for you. Simply put, he can shift gears in accordance with the match situation.

In six ODI innings in 2020 (Feb 20, 2020), KL Rahul has scored 325 runs with a couple of fifties and a century. There’s more to KL Rahul than what meets the eye. The hundred scored by him against the Kiwis at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui came while batting at five, after the team’s top order was blown away like nine pins.

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The all-format player: Back in 2015, during the fourth and final test match of the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Karnataka lad made the Aussies sweat it out at the SCG. He stitched a crucial 141-run partnership for the 3rd wicket with Virat Kohli. The then 22-year-old spent a good amount of time in the middle as he was ready to knuckle down but did not think twice before punishing the looseners. 

Three years down the line, he showcased his power-hitting ability and scored 659 runs in 14 IPL games at an average of over 50. His heroics in the IPL helped him transform into an all-format player from a ‘Test specialist’.

During the 2018 Tour of England, Rahul scored a scintillating century at the Emirates Old Trafford.

KL Rahul has been a vital part of the playing XI in recent times and has done reasonably well in the limited opportunities he has got. Here’s a specialist batter that can bat anywhere in the top five and his wicket-keeping skills come as an added plus. Therefore, having him in the playing XI is bound to reap dividends in the long-run.

Sergio Aguero and the art of going all guns blazing

Manchester City’s forward line rotates around one man, i.e. Sergio Aguero. At present, it is impossible to think of Manchester City FC without mentioning Sergio Aguero. He is one of the club’s most-consistent goal scorers. The club has been decimating oppositions in recent times, and Sergio Aguero has been in the form of his life for quite some time. The Argentine has been scoring goals at a rate of knots in the Premier League. He is the second-highest goalscorer in the 2019-20 Premier League season, behind Leicester City FC’s Jamie Vardy( as of Jan 30, 2020).

Picture courtesy: Pinterest
Picture courtesy: Pinterest

The defending champions are placed second, 19 points behind Liverpool. (Jan 30, 2020). Well, that is because they didn’t get off to the best of starts this time around. In September last year, they went down against Norwich (3-2). Wolverhampton defeated them in October (2-0), and Liverpool made them bite the dust in November (2-1). The lads from Etihad have witnessed as many as five defeats in 24 Premier League games this season (as of Jan 30, 2020). Consequently, they are sitting 13 points behind Liverpool.

But they seem to have found their mojo, and Sergio Aguero needs to be thanked for that. The Argentine goal machine has been finding the nets quite regularly these days. The moment he senses a scoring opportunity, he wants to grab it with both his hands. He believes in decimating the opposition. Drawn games don’t excite him. He sets foot on the ground in order to win. That is the way he plays.

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The Gamechanger

The good thing about him is: he knows his game. He is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Well, his technique isn’t flawless, but it is effective. The moment he takes possession of the ball, he wants to create scoring opportunities. If the team wants an equalizer, Aguero is the first one to put his hand up (most of the time). If he’s going through a purple patch, then he can score goals at will. Manchester City FC have been dominating the Premier League for quite some time. There happens to be a wide gulf that separates them from their neighbours in recent times. Aguero’s ability to score under pressure has been a major reason contributing to the team’s success.

The fighter, the Samurai

Sergio Aguero doesn’t come from the land of Samurais, but his attitude happens to be quite similar to that of a Samurai. Time and again, he sets the stage on fire with his ‘killer instinct’. He wants to create an impact by winning games. The quality of the opposition’s defence lines happens to be of little importance to him. If he’s going through a purple patch, then nobody, not even the heavens above, can stop him. People have often criticized him for being way too aggressive, but aggression happens to be the Argentine’s secret ingredient. Aggression is what separates him from the rest. Here is a lad who lives by the sword, and one has to say, dies by it.

The go-getter

Pressure situations tend to bring the best out of the Argentine. Throw a challenge at him, and he wouldn’t die wondering. This lad from South America is a go-getter. He doesn’t shy away from shouldering responsibilities. His fans know that he spearheads Manchester City FC’s attack, often leading by example. Even if he isn’t in the best of forms, you cannot keep him out of the game.

The Million-dollar baby

According to estimates, Aguero earns somewhere close to 13 million GBP per year (well, that’s a staggering amount, isn’t it?). Some might feel that he’s being paid a bit too much, but if his ability to win matches is taken into account, then people will realize that he is worth his price in gold.

To conclude

Sergio Aguero has redefined aggression. He can win a game single-handedly for his side. His aggression turns him into a lethal weapon. He isn’t as popular as the likes of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, but he doesn’t care much about gaining recognition. He just keeps his head down and goes about his business.

Video courtesy: YouTube

It is important for Atletico Madrid to handle Joao Felix with care

João Félix 7 ⚽🔴🔵

At 20, Joao Felix is one of La Liga’s most promising youngsters. After enjoying a fruitful season(2018-19) with Benfica, the teenager was roped in by Atletico Madrid in 2019 in order to bolster the side’s attacking line. Atletico Madrid stood second in the 2018-19 season. Joao Felix is a talented youngster with his whole life ahead of him. Atletico Madrid wanted a long-term prospect to lead the club’s attacking line. The club wanted to infuse some energy into the forward line, and the lad from Portugal came into the side as a breath of fresh air.

A lot of promise:

He grabbed a lot of eyeballs during his time at Benfica. With 15 goals in 26 matches during the 2018-19 season, Felix ended up as the Portuguese League’s joint fourth-highest goal scorer along with S.C. Braga’s Dyego Sousa. He was bestowed with the prestigious “ Golden Boy” award in November last year. The award seeks to recognize the most promising youngster in the world of football.

The Pundits have lauded the 20-year-old for his ability to score goals under pressure. Also, his control over the ball is phenomenal. He can trick just about any defender in the world if and when he is on song. The good thing about him is: he’s young and brimming with energy. He seems to have learnt a lot during his time with Benfica.

There is a lot of pressure at Atletico Madrid
Well, things are quite different at Atletico Madrid. At Benfica, there wasn’t much pressure, but Atletico Madrid is a much bigger club. Therefore, the expectations from Joao Felix will be immense. Atletico Madrid have been performing really well. The lads from Wanda Metropolitano have been in good form.

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They stood second in 2018-19 (behind Barcelona). They were able to go past arch-rivals Real Madrid by eight points. Their recent victory against heavyweights Barcelona in the semi-final of Supercopa de Espana was greeted with great pomp and show.

We are halfway into the 2019-20 La Liga season, and Atletico Madrid stand third (on Jan 16). In 15 appearances for the club this season, the 20-year-old has found the net just twice. Well, you cannot expect a 20-something lad to go all guns blazing against the oppositions right from the word go. He needs time to get going, all of us do.

Speed and strength
Joao Felix is a genuinely talented lad. You don’t get to see such lads frequently. He can destroy the oppositions’ defensive lines within seconds. Also, his speed and strength cannot be taken for granted. No matter how good the opposition’s defence lines are, Joao Felix will score if and when he is in the best of forms. He can outplay his opponents in terms of speed. He is an able dribbler and can pass the ball with precision. Not to forget, he is an indomitable force when he counters.

Also, he is an aggressive player. Aggression is something that comes naturally to him. He is someone who can create scoring opportunities with a few deft touches, which means you can station him near the ‘D’ if need be.

The 2019-20 season

In 15 club appearances this season, the lad from Portugal has scored two goals. Well, the numbers might not be impressive, but Joao Felix’s game doesn’t revolve around numbers and stats. He believes in creating an everlasting impact. Fans, enthusiasts and supporters have witnessed bite-sized glimpses of his on-field brilliance this season, but the job is far from over. Atletico Madrid are left with 19 matches (as of Jan 16, 2020). Joao Felix needs to step up and score.

What does he need?
He needs to get along with the experienced pros in the side. The likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Moratta are seasoned campaigners. They can teach a lot to the likes of Joao Felix. Do not field him at the beginnings. Ask the likes of Moratta and Diego Costa to set the game up. One of these two can be asked to score. Once a healthy lead is maintained, set Joao Felix free. Let him put his creativity to use. Throw him a challenge and see how he responds. Go one step at a time.

Let him express himself. The more he plays, the more he’ll get to learn. The management needs to be a bit patient. He needs time to adapt to the rigours and vigours of Spanish football. Things will get better with time.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - AUGUST 10:   Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid scores a goal to make the score 2-1 during the International Champions Cup match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus on August 10, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski resides in bite-sized moments of brilliance

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Think of Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski’s name will automatically come to mind. It certainly would not be an overstatement to say that this star striker from Poland has been one of Bayern Munich’s most consistent performers in recent times. During the 2018-19 season of the Bundesliga, Lewandowski could be seen eating goals for breakfast. He finished as the season’s leading goal scorer (22 goals).

Lewandowski was bought by the Bavarian Giants in 2014 to bolster the club’s attacking lines. Since the Polish striker’s arrival, they have enjoyed a lot of success. Bayern Munich have been winning the German Bundesliga since 2012-13. In 262 matches for the German powerhouse (across competitions), the Polish star has scored 206 times. Wow, these are staggering numbers. Those following him closely would be aware of the difference he makes every single time he takes the field. He is expected to score the moment he takes control of the ball. No matter how formidable the opponent’s defence lines are, Lewandowski will decimate them within no time.

The moment he misses a scoring opportunity, several media outlets across Europe can be seen losing a lot of ink. Earlier this year, the Bayern Munich forward was criticised by Didi Hamann, an ex-Germany midfielder, for failing to score against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal round of 16. Lewandowski termed the criticism aimed at him as “flat-out stupid”.

 What does Lewandowski bring to the table?

He is the axis around which other rotate

It has to be said that Lewandowski’s scoring rate is phenomenal. Every time he comes out to play, he ends up making a difference. He spearheads the club’s attacking lines, sometimes almost single-handedly. Also, there is a circle of energy and enthusiasm that surrounds Lewandowski from all possible sides. He brings along a lot of energy and optimism into the side.

The go-getter

No matter how precarious the situation is, Lewandowski will find a way to tackle it. If Bayern Munich is in need of an equaliser, he will come out all guns blazing and score a goal for his side. The opposition’s defence lines can be seen running for cover if and when the Polish great is on song. He scored 14 goals in the first 10 matches of the 2019-20 season. After looking at his numbers, he can be easily counted as one of the contemporary greats.

His ability to soak all the pressure makes him an intangible asset. Bayern Munich have been winning the Bundesliga since 2012-13, all thanks to Robert Lewandowski and his on-field brilliance. He wants to score the moment makes his way out. He wants to win matches for his side.

The fighter

Just one or two bad games do not seem to have much of an impact on him. The moment you write him off, he tends to strike back. Criticism makes him stronger. He is not known for launching verbal attacks and lets his on-field brilliance do the talking. Different people have different ways to counter criticism, and his way is to come out all guns blazing.

The impact player

Robert Lewandowski happens to be the heart and soul of Bayern Munich’s attacking lines. He keeps on scoring consistently.  In numbers are phenomenal, but Lewandowski’s game has never revolved around numbers. He wants to help his side win matches. That is what makes him different from other strikers. His on-field persona happens to be his biggest strength.

To conclude the argument

He too feels bogged down and frustrated at times. He overreacts and makes silly mistakes. Well, he isn’t a wish-granting fairy. Lewandowski doesn’t really care much about being judged by others. This lad from Poland just goes about his business. Simply put, he resides within countless moments of brilliance.

Is India Paying Attention To Medals Brought Home By Sportswomen?

It goes pretty much without saying that life isn’t a bed of roses for women athletes in India. Despite their best efforts, the gulf between male and female athletes in India keeps widening rampantly.

Take this for an example: The likes on Twitter and Facebook erupt like a volcano, the moment a male athlete wins a medal. Also, it is quite unsurprising to note that male athletes are paid way more than their female counterparts. Back in 2008, Abhinav Bindra turned into a national icon after becoming the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal (individual sport). On the other hand, countless women athletes are struggling to keep their bodies and souls together. Nobody talks about their achievements. Consequently, they end up fading away into the depths of oblivion.

Almost all of us know that R.S. Rathore won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but not many of us know that MC Mary Kom has won as many as six Boxing World Championships. Women athletes keep exceeding our expectations, but we hardly pay heed to all the good work done by them.

It is heartening to note that a considerable number of women athletes have made their presence felt in recent times. The likes of PV Sindhu and Hima Das have taken the sporting world by storm. Today, both these women have turned into role models and cultural icons.

Let us take a look at some of the rising women athletes who have made us proud in recent times:

PV Sindhu (Badminton)

She seems to have answered all her critics with her racquet. In the recently concluded Badminton World Championships, she decimated Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets to win her first gold medal. The world number 5 has won as many as five medals in six appearances at the world championships. Boy, that’s no mean feat.

Hima Das (Track and field)

They say the size of your success is always measured by the strength of your desire. Hima Das, the 19-year-old sprinter, broke quite a few records during the 2018 edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta by covering 400 metres, in a fraction over 50 seconds. Also, she won a gold medal in a track event during the IAAF World U20 Championships. She is the first Indian athlete to bag four gold medals in 15 days. Wow, these are staggering numbers!

Dutee Chand (Track and field)

She made journalists lose a lot of ink, after winning a gold medal in the women’s 100-metre sprint at the World University Games (Napoli, 2019). The 23-year-old smashed quite a few records after clocking 11.32 seconds in the final and became the first Indian athlete to bag a gold medal at the event. One has to say that this lass from Odisha knows how to handle extreme pressure.

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

The seasoned and wise ‘yodha’ of the Indian Women’s cricket team became a household name after leading her team to the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. In a career spanning over decades, she has scored more than 6,000 ODI runs. Also, she is the highest run-scorer for India in all three formats of the game.

Also read: How A Community Of Writers Showed Up To Bat For Our Women In Blue!

Sania Mirza (Lawn Tennis)

With three mixed doubles titles in her kitty, Sania Mirza is one of the finest female tennis players the country has ever produced. At the very height of her powers in 2015-16, she ranked number one in the WTA doubles rankings, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat.

After going through all of the aforementioned examples, I believe, it certainly wouldn’t be wrong to say that women athletes in India are outplaying their male counterparts. For centuries, women are being told that they are, and will always remain, inferior to men. I, however, feel that women are way stronger than men (they have always been). Most of us find it hard to come to terms with this fact.

The piece was first published on Youth Ki Awaaz

Rediscovering Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma was seen dominating the batting charts in the recently-concluded edition of the World Cup. For Indian fans, it was an absolute delight to watch Rohit going after the bowlers; he made batting look ridiculously easy.

His hundred against South Africa at Southampton kept India afloat even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. The skies overhead were murky. The batting strip wasn’t a belter either. In the simplest of terms, it wasn’t an ideal day for batting.

The likes of Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris were spitting venom. After a few early wobbles, Rohit decided to knuckle down. He, along with KL Rahul, steadied the ship and kept the scoreboard moving.

During the game against Pakistan, the 31-year-old was at his imperious best. A scintillating 140 off just 113 deliveries helped his side post a formidable 336-run total at Old Trafford in Manchester. The bowlers had a hard time as Rohit kept batting tirelessly.

With 648 runs in nine matches, he was the tournament’s leading run-getter. He also became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single edition of the World Cup.

Rohit Sharma during the match against Pakistan
Rohit Sharma during the match against South Africa

Rohit showcased a lot of promise as a 20-year-old. He played his first-ever T20I innings against a high-flying South African side in the 2007 edition of the ICC World T20. Batting at five, he stitched a crucial partnership with MS Dhoni to get his side to a respectable total.

All of the strokes that Rohit played were conventional. The lad from Maharashtra kept milking the singles to keep the scoreboard ticking. He was calm and composed and didn’t try to overhit the ball.

After his batting heroics, he showcased his fielding prowess too by pulling off a memorable run out to get rid of Justin Kemp.

Rohit’s talent was never in question. Those who saw him bat back then knew that this lad was tailor-made for the game’s biggest stage. But the beginning was tough.

Rohit struggled to perform consistently as a middle-order batsman. Almost every good innings was followed by a string of low scores. Consequently, he was dropped from the side.

Rise as an opener 

Rohit was asked to share the opening duties with Shikhar Dhawan during the 2013 edition of the Champions Trophy in England. In five matches Rohit scored 177 runs (including a couple of fifties), signalling that he was ready to welcome the promotion with open arms.

Shikhar Dhawan kept going all guns blazing at the other end and Rohit was happy to knock the ball around. These two men gave India solid starts throughout the tournament, and the team eventually ended up getting their hands on the silverware.

The ODI series against the Aussies in October 2013 brought out the best in Rohit. In the second ODI, he and Virat Kohli spearheaded a miraculous run chase.

Chasing 360-odd in 50 overs for an unlikely victory, both these men scored centuries and helped India reach the target in the 44th over. Rohit remained unbeaten on 141, but his best was yet to come.

In the seventh and final ODI of the series, Rohit once again took the Aussie bowlers to the cleaners. He scored a double century in the match (209) and ended the series with an aggregate of 491 runs.

How has he become so consistent?

Of late, Rohit has transformed into an ODI monster. He is arguably the best opening batsman (ODI) in world cricket right now, with seemingly a lot more success to come.

With three double hundreds in his career thus far, Rohit is the undisputed king of ODI double hundreds. But have you ever wondered what makes him such a formidable force in limited-overs cricket?

Rohit’s strength lies in his ability to play the waiting game. He spends a lot of time in the middle in order to get his eye in.

Those who follow Rohit closely would have noticed that he is willing to play a few dot deliveries early on in his innings. He doesn’t go bang-bang right from the word go. But once he gets set, he scores freely by unleashing a wide range of strokes.

Take the 208 he scored against Sri Lanka in Mohali (2017) for example. The first hundred came in 115 balls while the next 108 runs came off just 38 balls. He smashed 13 fours and 12 sixes in the innings.

This has been a striking feature of Rohit’s batting exploits of late. Every single time he goes on to score a hundred, he tries to convert it into a ‘daddy hundred’.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma


Ironing out the chinks for the future 

Some might disagree, but Rohit does look vulnerable early on in his innings. He has a habit of throwing his bat at deliveries outside the off-stump and has been caught in the slip cordon on a number of occasions.

But the good thing is that despite his limitations, he seems to have got better with time. At present, he is getting more and more assured with each passing game. Above all else, he seems to have made peace with the fact that no matter how many he may have scored in the previous innings, each innings is a fresh start.

That bodes well for his short-term as well as long-term future. Rohit already an ODI great, but he is on the cusp of attaining legendary status. If he continues to be as consistent as he has been lately, there’s no reason why he won’t get there.


The pros and cons of being Ben Stokes

Boy, that was an absolute screamer. He had pulled that one out of thin air. Former England captain Nasser Hussain ran out of adjectives. He couldn’t believe what he had just seen. In all fairness, none of us could. It was a spectacle. Ben Stokes had caught everybody’s imagination. The 2019 edition of the World Cup was got off to a rocking start.

Back in 2006, when Jon Lewis was in charge of Durham’s second XI, he saw a young Ben Stokes. In an interview with Cricbuzz, Lewis recollects how Stokes nearly ended up killing himself while attempting to win a game of squash against Durham teammate Gordon Muchall.

Early on, Ben Stokes’ hard-hitting ability made him a popular figure inside the dressing room. Soon enough, he was seen rising through the ranks. After a forgettable test debut in the 2nd test of the 2013-14 Ashes series, he notched up a belligerent ton in the 2nd innings of the 3rd Ashes test. England ended up on the losing side, but Ben Stokes had announced his arrival in grand fashion. He kept scoring quickly. Wickets kept tumbling like ninepins, but he kept steamrolling on his way to a stupendous 120.

England lost the match and went on to concede the series, but in Ben Stokes, they had found a gem of a player. Here was a player who could turn the game on its head. The number six conundrum was finally sorted.

The highs

Over the years, Ben Stokes’ persona has become one of his biggest ‘weapons’. On the field, he keeps running around. At times, the ball just tends to follow him. He drops dollies but takes some spectacular catches. There are days when he gets out without troubling the scorers. He’s not someone that’ll score 70 odd in every game but will end up turning the game on its head with a 15-ball 30. He’ll follow it up with a couple of wickets. He resides in those small patches of brilliance. He’s eccentric, almost uncontrollable at times, but eccentricity is precisely what makes him lethal. That’s the kind of player Ben Stokes is. You can feel the traces of energy that he leaves behind.

The lows

In all fairness, being Ben Stokes isn’t easy. The aggression that surrounds him happens to be a double-edged sword. There are times when aggression and jubilation, and ecstasy can be misunderstood. Don’t worry; it’s pretty much normal. Those tattooed arms make him look like a high-school bully.

Carlos Brathwaite took him to the cleaners during the World T20 final in 2016. Stokes was hit for four consecutive sixes. As a bowler, your confidence is bound to go for a toss, and Ben Stokes’ case happened to be no exception. He was down, but he always had the courage to get up and fight.

2018 saw Ben Stokes diving into the depths of oblivion. After an ugly brawl at a pub in Bristol, this lad from Durham saw his career falling apart like a house on fire. He invited further controversy when he mocked Katie Price’s disabled teenage son. Geeez! Nobody knows what keeps cooking inside his head. Stokes made a lucky escape after he was found ‘not guilty’ of affray. Soon enough, normalcy was restored.

There have been times when controversies have overshadowed his on-field brilliance. One can say he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, he’s no angel.  He has made blunders. There are times when his enthusiasm overpowers him, but he’s someone you can always count upon during crucial moments.

To top it all, Ben Stokes is not an attention seeker; he’s a game changer.  You can call him aggressive, arrogant, and egoistic. There certainly is no dearth of adjectives. As a viewer, you are free to love him or hate him. He doesn’t care much. He’s a man who lives by the sword and dies by it.