Ben Stokes is a lot bigger than he appears on your TV and mobile screens. Standing there at six foot aplenty, with his biceps full of sweat having just run a million laps of the boundary in about two-and-a-half minutes, and his shoulders as wide as most people are tall, he is indeed a physically intimidating man. Stokes has set high standards for himself, thanks to the heroics efforts we have seen of him on numerous occasions. That’s why, it’s pretty understandable that he is upset with himself and his latest returns on the field.
Stokes always wants to do more, be more, and contribute more to the team. His determination to never let anyone down is what makes him a role model for so many of us. He might have returned poor figures, but Stokes was quick to clear that this didn’t mean he felt he returned too early from his mental health break during the 2021 home season, nor that the off time from the field was the reason for his poor performances.
Stokes is one among many who have struggled with balancing the doomed pursuit of perfection as well as balancing mental well-being.
Stokes on improving his techniques, and the last couple of years
“I would have liked to have been in better physical shape when I was in Australia. If you’re not willing to keep learning you’re going about it the wrong way. Even the likes of Virat [Kohli], he’s constantly working on his game, never happy with where they’re at.”
“When I look back on it I felt I let myself down,” Stokes said, after scoring 236 runs at 23.60 in the series, and four wickets at 71.50 in three-and-a-half Tests before being ruled out to a side strain. “But the thing that really grinds me the most is that I let a lot of other people down. I never want to feel that way again.
“Over the last couple of years, with how the schedule’s been and all the cricket that gets played these days, I had a chance to have a good look at things going forward and when it came down to it, the real thing that got me excited and got everything going out of all three formats was Test cricket. That was a big decision to come out of the IPL, to make sure that I was able to give everything I possibly could to this Test team going forward.”