Cricketers come up with different tactics to release pressure in crunch situations. During the high-voltage clash against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup, legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar was calming his nerves with a big bowl of ice cream and a banana at lunch and listening to some music.
Well, England star Ben Stokes came up with something different before going out to bat in the super over during last year’s nerve-wrecking World Cup final against New Zealand.
The star allrounder had sneaked off for a “cigarette break” in order to calm his nerves ahead of the over. The interesting and unheard anecdote finds mention in a new book on England’s thrilling triumph. The victory over New Zealand ended England’s decades-long wait for their first-ever 50-over World Cup.
On the first anniversary of that historic triumph, excerpts from a book called ‘Morgan’s Men: The Inside Story of England’s Rise from Cricket World Cup Humiliation to Glory’ has revealed the pressure that Ben Stokes felt on that day at Lord’s.
“Finding a quiet spot as the frenzy of the Super Over approached was hard in a ground packed out with 27,000 supporters and television cameras following the players from the middle, through the Long Room and up the stairs to the dressing room,” authors Nick Hoult and Steve James wrote and the excerpt has been published by stuff.co.nz.
“But Ben Stokes had played at Lord’s many times. He knows every nook and cranny. As Eoin Morgan tries to bring calm to the England dressing room and sort out their tactics, Stokes nips off for a moment of peace.
“He is covered in dirt and sweat. He has batted for two hours and 27 minutes of unbelievable tension. What does Stokes do? He goes to the back of the England dressing room, past the attendant’s little office and into the showers. There he lights up a cigarette and has few minutes on his own,” the excerpt reads.
The cigarette break worked for Ben Stokes as he starred in the super over. After playing a heroic knock of 84 to make sure England tie the game, he scored 8 in the super over to help his side finish with 15 runs. In reply, New Zealand also finished on 15 runs but England were adjudged the winners on the basis of boundary-count rules. Ben Stokes was also named the Man of the Match as well as the Man of the Tournament.
Also Read: Eoin Morgan Reveals The Moment Where He Thought England Were ‘Dead And Buried’ In The World Cup Final