Ben Stokes has revealed that it was David Warner’s relentless attempt to “disrupt” his game that spurred the talismanic all-rounder to single-handedly lead England to victory in the Ashes Test at Headingley.
In his new book, ‘On Fire’, Stokes said it was Warner, who ended up motivating him to save his team and prevent Australia from securing the urn.
“I had extra personal motivation due to some things that were said to me out on the field on the evening of day three when I was trying to get through to stumps. A few of the Aussies were being quite chirpy, but in particular David Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me,” Stokes revealed in an extract published in the Daily Mirror.
England’s World Cup hero added, “He just wouldn’t shut up for most of my time out there. I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though.”
“The changed man he was adamant he’d become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed ‘Humble’ by his Australia teammates, had disappeared.
“Maybe his lack of form in his new guise had persuaded him that he needed to get the bull back,” he added.
Weeks after his incredible knock in the World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s, Stokes smashed an unbeaten 135 to lift England to an improbable win at the Headingley.
Talking about Warner, who had a good World Cup but a poor Ashes series, Stokes said the lack of runs in red ball cricket may have put him under pressure.
“Although he’d enjoyed a prolific World Cup campaign, he had struggled with the bat at the start of the Ashes and was perhaps turning to his old ways to try to get the best out of himself. The nice-guy act had done nothing for his runs column.
“I muttered ‘Bloody Warner’ a few times as I was getting changed. The more time passed, the more it spurred me on. All kinds of ideas of what I might say to him at the end of the game went through my head. In the end, I vowed to do nothing other than shake his hand and say ‘’Well done’’ if I could manufacture the situation.
“You always shake the hands of every member of the opposing team at the end of a match. But this one would give me the greatest sense of satisfaction,” Stokes said.