This is no longer about the redemption of Ben Stokes. It goes beyond that. This is now a story about the great cricket that can drive England to both the World Cup and Ashes.
The story is about ‘Summer of Stokes, it’s easy to focus on his efforts to make up for the time lost by the Bristol incident and his absence in the 4-0 As As series match against England.
But now Stokes has won the right to a debate that has lasted nearly two years, and that can easily engulf him, to be deposited into history. Everything should now be about his recovery as the talisman of England and the testing vice-captain.
What Ben Stokes has done until this summer marks him as a true cricket player.
As for what the 28-year-old has done this year, both on that unforgettable Sunday in the World Cup final just six weeks ago and an unforgettable Sabbath day in Leeds to burn Burning Ashes, really marked him as a really great Englishman.
If the summer of 1981 was all about Sir Ian Botham and the ashes of 2005 belonged to Andrew Flintoff, this year, both with white and red balls, will be remembered as the summer when Stokes defended his position in the pantheon with both.
And, while Stokes has a number of ways to overcome both of their great inspirational abilities, he can be considered a crickter player superior to Flintoff, certainly with a bat. Especially if he inspires Britain to double this year.
The great man Botham, commenting for Sky on Sunday as Stokes surpassed his legendary achievements on this famous Headingley ground, there’s no doubt that we have a cricket presence.
Stokes offers one of the greatest performances in the history of the game
Examination of occupational burns Average: 35.86
Average career Bowling test: 32.22
Occupational average: 31.77
Average career Bowling test: 32.78
Examination of occupational burns Average: 33.54
Average career Bowling test: 28.40