Cricket

Ben Stokes, right, was on the receiving end of a West Indies onslaught at Eden Gardens.

Ben Stokes gets mixed reviews from West Indies T20 stars

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Marlon Samuels and Carlos Brathwaite took contrasting views of Ben Stokes after leading the West Indies to victory in Sunday's World Twenty20 final against England.

Man of the match Samuels hit 85 not out from 66 balls before Brathwaite finished the job with four successive sixes off the last over from Stokes at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

And while Samuels was fined 30 per cent of his match fee for verbally abusing old adversary Stokes during the dramatic finale, ripped off his shirt to celebrate furiously near the England dugout and then dismissed the Durham all-rounder in his press conference as "a nervous lad", Brathwaite backed him to bounce back.

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"Ben Stokes is an absolute legend in his own right," he told ESPN Cricinfo.

"You shouldn't forget what he has done for England in the past couple of months."

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Samuels too has a long memory and continued a feud which started in the Caribbean during last year's Test series when he famously saluted Stokes after the England man was dismissed in Grenada and earned a few industrial words by way of riposte.

"Stokes is a nervous lad," Samuels said in his post-match press conference on Sunday. "What I told Brathwaite is just hold his pose and (Stokes) is going to bowl a couple of full tosses, as always.

"It worked in our favour and Brathwaite played a brilliant knock to give me a little break at the other end."

Stokes did not deliver a full toss but nevertheless found himself with no answer to Brathwaite's power hitting.

"He doesn't learn," added Samuels. "They keep telling him when we play against him 'do not speak to me because I'm going to perform'. I hadn't even faced a ball today and he had so much to say, so I thought 'I'll have to be around until the end again'."

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Samuels also mockingly dedicated his man of the match award to Shane Warne, another player he has feuded with since a confrontation in the Big Bash League in 2013, while captain Darren Sammy was critical of both the West Indies Cricket Board and English commentator Mark Nicholas after the match.

"We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains," said Sammy in his on-field interview. "All these things before the tournament just brought this team together.

"(Grenada's) Prime Minister (Keith) Mitchell sent a very inspiring email for the team this morning... and I'm yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing."

Contrast

Brathwaite, though, displayed a calm and sympathetic outlook in contrast to his ruthless innings.

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: Final - England v West Indies

He said: "Cricket is a cruel game, and a lot of people can be on him, but just remember Stuart Broad was hit for six sixes by Yuvraj (Singh), and his career has gone on the up ever since.

"To Ben, tough luck last night, commiserations to you and the England team. (I hope) he has a long and successful career ahead of him."

Broad himself backed Stokes to learn from the experience.

"It's sport, isn't it?" he told Sky Sports News. "You're going to have highs and lows, and the reason you do all your training is to try and get more highs and lows. Stokesy, three and a half months ago, scored the fastest double century for England and lit up Cape Town. It's just part of that thing, as long as you learn from it.

"There's no point trying to forget about it straight away, you try to learn a little bit of how you've felt and what you'd do differently for hopefully the next time you're in that position.

"It might not come around in a World Cup final again but there'll be times when every bowler will be asked to bowl the last over. Every bowler's going to lose games now and again but you want to come out winning more often than not."

What do you make of Samuels' reaction to Stokes' final over?

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Topics:
T20 World Cup
The Ashes
Chris Gayle
Cricket
England cricket
West Indies cricket

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