England head coach Trevor Bayliss has backed Ben Stokes to recover from his last-over nightmare during Sunday’s galling World Twenty20 final defeat, insisting the all-rounder is the side’s “heart and soul”.
Stokes was clobbered for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite with the West Indies requiring 19 from the final over for victory, leaving a distraught Stokes in tears.
The 24-year-old was England’s go-to man to bowl at the death throughout the tournament and Bayliss insists there will be no lasting damage to a player who has personified England’s white-ball renaissance.
“He is one of those blokes, if we had a game tomorrow, he’d put his hand up to bowl the last over again,” said Bayliss “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’d go a long way.”
Bayliss also played down Stokes’s combustible nature after, not for the first time, engaging in an exchange with Marlon Samuels, who top scored for West Indies with an unbeaten knock of 85.
“Ben’s one of those players that feeds off that,” added Bayliss. “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.”