Tuesday 17 September 2019

World of sport unites to heap social media praise on ‘sporting genius’ Stokes

The England batsman’s 135 not out earned plaudits from the stars of a number of sports.

Ben Stokes celebrates victory at Headingley (Tim Goode/PA)
Ben Stokes celebrates victory at Headingley (Tim Goode/PA)

By Max McLean, PA

Some of the world’s most successful athletes paid homage to Ben Stokes after the all-rounder led England to victory in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Stokes’ 135 not out helped England chase down a mammoth 359 target on the fourth day against Australia, after all seemed lost for the hosts at 286 for nine.

Enter Jack Leach, who valiantly fought to stay in, allowing Stokes to complete his second heroic innings of the summer, having won the World Cup for England just weeks before.

England great Geoffrey Boycott described the victory as one of the best cricket moments of his life, tweeting: “I’ve seen some remarkable cricket moments in my life but that is the best I’ve seen in over 50 years.

“@benstokes38 saved the Ashes and gave a magical inspirational innings. Even better than his World Cup performance.”

Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan backed Boycott up, adding: “When @GeoffreyBoycott says it’s the Greatest Test innings he has seen in 60 yrs watching the game you know it’s the GREATEST.”

One man who has already experienced Stokes’ heroics this summer is Eoin Morgan, who captained the England one-day side to victory at Lord’s in the World Cup.

He kept it short and sweet, tweeting: “Truly remarkable” along with a shrugging emoji.

Former players from around the globe also got involved, with former Australia bowler Jason Gillespie hailing Stokes’ innings as “one of the best of all time” while former India great Virender Sehwag tweeted: “That was special from Ben Stokes. Single handedly winning the test match. Great viewing.”

But it was not just the world of cricket that was hooked. Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were sufficiently distracted from the Premier League football on offer.

Liverpool’s Champions League-winner Carragher said he believed the day’s play represented “Test Cricket at its best” while Neville, one of the most decorated club footballers in English history, tweeted “Wow!! Amazing!”

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, meanwhile, appears to believe Stokes has the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award sewn up if his tweets are to be believed.

“Do we need to bother with any other contenders for Sports Personality Of The Year?” he posted.

England’s rugby alumni know a career-defining moment when they see one, having lifted the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

Two members of that side logged on to Twitter to share their thoughts, with Matt Dawson tweeting: “I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that knock” while Will Greenwood described the batsman as a “sporting genius”.

The world of golf was suitably impressed too, with Ian Poulter tweeting “that was beyond comprehension” and Andrew Johnston posting “Never seen anything like that in my life @englandcricket @benstokes38 actually speechless”.

But if athletes across the world couldn’t believe what Stokes did at Headingley on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the man himself also appeared to be struggling to come to terms with it.

“Not sure he can quite believe what he’s just done?” team-mate Stuart Broad tweeted over a picture of Stokes from the dressing room.

PA Media

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