Stokes is heart and soul of England team: Bayliss
Coach is proud of his team's campaign and is hoping to feed off on the positivity for the home summer
06 April 2016 16:05
Stokes bowled four deliveries that were very much within the reach of Carlos Brathwaite, who hit all of them out of the park to give West Indies their second title in three editions. The image of Stokes on his haunches after the last six was a poignant one, and the cricket world was vocal in their support for him.
“He is one of those blokes – if we had a game tomorrow, he would put his hand up to bowl the last over again. No one is blaming Stokesy for anything. To be honest, he is the heart and soul of this team. If everyone put in half as much as Stokesy does, we would go a long way,” said Bayliss after the team’s return.
“You can’t fault Ben’s leadership in the team or the effort he puts in. It doesn’t matter whether he is batting, bowling or fielding, he gives you 100% until there’s nothing in the tank. The more of those type of cricketers we can produce, the better for England cricket.”
That final over apart, Stokes was also a subject of interest for Marlon Samuels, their rivalry going back a fair distance. Bayliss, however, felt that it was just the kind of needle that got his allrounder to rise to the occasion.
“Ben’s one of those players that feeds off that. Some players sometimes say things and they can’t really back it up. But Stokesy is one of those players … that’s what turns him on, that’s what gets his juices flowing and makes him as good as he is,” said the coach. “He’s not the only one around the world. There are a number of other players who do the same thing – almost create their own controversy, or whatever you want to call it, to psyche themselves up and get their head in the game. It brings the best out of him.”
Stokes was one of the key players in England’s campaign, his death bowling against New Zealand in the semifinal, where he picked up three wickets, standing out. What was impressive about England’s campaign was the way the unit came together to seize key moments. Jason Roy, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and David Willey among others played an attractive brand of cricket that made the team watchable, and Bayliss was happy with the overall effort put in by the boys.
“We have had so many texts and emails already saying that cricket is back on the front page almost, back in people’s mind where maybe in the last year or two it hasn’t been. I think the support will carry on over into the players, the players will feel that and we are looking forward to the summer now, and feeling that support,” he said.
“We certainly set out at the start of the tournament to play some good cricket and knew if we did that we would give ourselves one hell of a chance,” he went on. “That’s how it panned out. Obviously the final was disappointing but I am extremely proud of the way they played through this last few weeks. As long as we keep playing good cricket and someone has to do something remarkable to beat us, we will win a lot of games.”