March 24, 2015. Semi-final. Eden Park, Auckland. South Africa-born Grant Elliott clobbers Dale Steyn over wide long as New Zealand enter the final for the first time by beating South Africa. Elliott celebrates and in an image which has become an icon for sportsman’s spirit, he lends a hand to Steyn who is down on the ground with disappointment and helps him get back on his feet. July 15, 2019. Final. Lord’s. Ben Stokes, born in Christchurch to Gerard Stokes, a former All Black rugby player, is the Man of the Match for his knock of 84* and his efforts in the super over as England become world champions for the first time due to not an outright result, but due to a superior boundary count.
"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," Morgan couldn't have paid a bigger compliment to the Man of the Final.
He was on his hunches when Carlos Brathwaite hit him for those sixes under a smoky Calcutta skyline during a World T20 final three summers back. His career could have ended that day and Morgan couldn't agree more.
"Yes and I have said that a number of times about Ben. I think a lot of careers would have been ended after what happened in Calcutta," Morgan reiterated.
Funnily ironical but all of England's premier all-rounders over the years have had colourful lives bordering on controversy. Whether it is Ian Botham smoking cannabis or an inebriated Andrew Flintoff hitting the sea and trying to paddle a boat, they have never been the establishment's favourite child.
Stokes is no exception as he was found doing a Rocky Balboa in front of a Bristol pub a couple of years ago. He floored a few with perfect right hooks and then stood in the court room in front of the judge.
Another premature ending loomed but the 'Big Ben' is destiny's child. And then Lord's happened -- a World Cup final and he did everything.
"To come through it is extraordinary. He's (Stokes) is almost superhuman. He has really carried the team and our batting line-up," Morgan was beaming for once while showing a dour face during other times.
"I know Jos and his partnership was extraordinary, but to bat with the lower order the way he did I thought was incredible," he showered praise.
Tired, sweaty and exhausted after a tie, he came out again, ran a three, hit a six, got a score for Super Over.
And just when one thought he has done everything, he reminded young Jofra Archer: "One over won't define who you are".
That was enough to bowl one good ball that ensured a World Cup win. From Sunday, the legend of Stokes will only grow.
And Morgan attributed it to the all-rounder's qualities as a team-man.
"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," said 'Captain' Morgan, ready to raise a toast for his asset.
(With Inputs: PTI)