England's 2019 international summer was glorious in many ways. They finally ended 44 years of pain when they won the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time in a thrilling final against New Zealand. In the Ashes, they bounced back twice against Australia and they drew the series at home 2-2, the first drawn Ashes series after 47 years. There has been one common factor in England's wonderful summer of achievements and that was the exploits of Ben Stokes. Following his achievements, the left-hander has been voted as the Players' Player of the Year at the Professional Cricketers' Association awards.
Speaking after receiving the award, Stokes highlighted the magnitude of the achievement. "It's hard to put it into words. I am over the moon that players think I am worthy of winning the PCA Players' Player of the Year through performances this summer. You can take a lot of personal pride when you receive this award because it's your peers that vote for you. Earning this award is a huge moment. While this is an individual award, it is within a team sport so I am only in this position because of what other guys in our squad have achieved as well. What we have done as a team in 2019 is phenomenal, to win the World Cup and draw the Ashes has been a fantastic summer and something I am proud of personally and as a team," Stokes said.
England reached the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup for the fourth time and they squared off against New Zealand. In a pulsating final, Stokes held the key against the country of his birth and he blasted 84. In the final over, he smashed a six off Trent Boult and a freak overthrow resulted in six runs and the match was tied. Heading into the super over, Stokes was once again the key as England hit 15 runs.
Stokes offered Jofra Archer, the bowler who bowled the super over some advice and although New Zealand tied the super over, England were declared the World Cup winners due to a superior boundary count. In the Ashes, England looked set to lose the Ashes for the first time in 18 years. In the Leeds Test, England looked down and out in their chase of 362 with only one wicket remaining.
However, Stokes, along with last man Jack Leach helped England get over the line in one of the most dramatic Test matches. Stokes blasted 135 and shared a partnership of 76 with Jack Leach as England achieved their highest Test run chase and won the match by one wicket to level the series. However, Australia won the fourth Test and retained the Ashes for the first time in 18 years but England squared the match with a win at The Oval Test.
Stokes' exploits in the summer have changed the landscape of England cricket and it has ensured his name remains etched in the glorious annals of World Cup match-winners.