London: England skipper Eoin Morgan didn't mince his words when he called all-rounder Ben Stokes "superhuman". The tag was truly well deserved after his efforts in not just the final of the 2019 World Cup, but also in the games leading up to the finale. However, the national hero was a villain a year back, a disgrace and a brat. It has been his efforts on the field that have now ensured that he will be remembered as a national hero, the greatest all-rounder England produced along with Ian Botham.
It was September 25 in 2017 when the news first came that Stokes was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for a brawl outside a night club. While it was later said that he was only trying to defend two innocent people, videos that were available showed him beating up two men and that didn't help his case.
He was then dropped from the squad for the Ashes series pending the outcome of the court hearing. While Stokes was cleared after close to 11-months of suffering, his image had taken a solid beating.
But it all changed in the matter of minutes on Sunday as he single-handedly won England the final at the historic Lord's. Speaking after the win, Morgan summed it up perfectly.
"To come through (what he has) it is extraordinary. He's almost superhuman. He has really carried the team and our batting line-up. I know Jos (Buttler) and his partnership was extraordinary, but to bat with the lower order the way he did, I thought was incredible.
"The atmosphere, the emotion that was going through the whole game, he managed to deal with that in an extremely experienced manner. And obviously everybody watching at home will hopefully try and be the next Ben Stokes (smiling)," he said.
In fact, Morgan went on to also bring in the episode at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata when Carlos Brathwaite took Windies home in the final of the 2016 World T20 by tonking Stokes for back-to-back sixes.
"Yes, I have said this a number of times about Ben. I think a lot of careers would have been ended after what happened in Kolkata. Ben on numerous occasions has stood up individually and in a unit for us. He leads the way in training, in any team meetings we have, and he's an incredible cricketer. And today he's had a huge day out and obviously we are thankful for that," he said.
Clearly, after the Lord's show, there are more chances that Stokes will be remembered as the best all-rounder to have played for the country than his antics outside a pub. Whatever be the memory, the legacy has been set.