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Wisden Cricket Monthly issue 16: The reinvention of Ben Stokes

by Wisden Staff 8 minute read

In the latest issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, out January 24, we explore the reinvention of Ben Stokes and his evolving impact on the field and in the changing room.


“No English cricketer has so gripped and split the public since the roistering heyday of Botham,” writes WCM editor-in-chief Phil Walker.

Elsewhere, we have a special feature looking back on England’s classic tours of the Caribbean, with former players such as Graham Gooch and Dennis Amiss reflecting on the (occasional) highs and lows of the last five decades.

We also have exclusive interviews with England keeper Ben Foakes, Middlesex’s new coach Stuart Law and the incomparable Jack Russell, while our columnists Jonathan Liew and Mel Jones respectively get stuck into Ashley Giles and Australia’s selection policy.

In a jam-packed issue there’s also room for Aussie scribe Geoff Lemon’s diary of India’s historic Test series victory down under and the latest instalment from our secret county cricketer who tackles the issue of bad apples in the dressing room.

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10 standout quotes from the new issue:

“The narrative was playing exquisitely: Stokes, the working-class son of a nine-fingered rugby league pro, with a glint in the eye, a ready thirst and a fondness for mischief who just so happens to be the most scintillating cricketer of his generation. Then it happens, a few life-changing seconds.”
Phil Walker on the remarkable career of Ben Stokes and where it goes next

“By all accounts, it wasn’t exactly a lavish field of candidates and so the ECB retreated to the warm ursine embrace of ‘Gilo’, the man who inherited an excellent white-ball team and managed to turn it into the laughing stock of world cricket.”
Jonathan Liew is left uninspired by Ashley Giles’ appointment as England’s new director of cricket

“There was a prison just outside the ground, and you could see the bars at the top of the prison. Viv was bombarding the prison, and some of the prisoners were going wild, rattling their metal plates and cups against the bars.”
Graham Gooch reflects on Viv Richards’ 56-ball century at Antigua in 1986 as part of a special extended feature on England’s classic tours of the Caribbean from the last five decades

“As coach of the West Indies, you weren’t just the coach/mentor, you were the mother, father, big brother, schoolmaster, best mate, all rolled into one, just to deal with all the personalities you had to.”
Middlesex’s new coach Stuart Law speaks to John Stern

“Pujara bats all day again. Doesn’t this guy have other things to do?”
Geoff Lemon shares his diary of India’s historic Test series victory in Australia

“It seems they’re picking players for reasons other than their actual skillset and what they have to offer. Take Glenn Maxwell. Most countries around the world would be happy to have him in their team but there seems to be a gut-feel there is something awry in the way he goes about things.”
Mel Jones says the Australian public are losing faith in their national selectors

“You do have to be a bit weird to be a keeper. To want to be that bloke who opens himself up, you’ve got to be a certain sort of character. You’ve got to be a bit strange.”
We speak to England’s new keeper, Ben Foakes

“It’s really selfish players that I dislike the most, the ones who are purely in it for themselves. They don’t tend to last too long at one county and they get a reputation on the circuit quite quickly.”
In our new series ‘Deep Cover’, our anonymous current county cricketer lifts the lid on dressing-room harmony 

“Alan Knott caught Rick McCosker in 1977, diving to his right, one-handed, and that’s when I decided I was going to play for England. That was the moment: McCosker, caught Knott, bowled Greig.”
Jack Russell, the finest gloveman of his generation, looks back on his career with England and Gloucestershire

“The country is crying out for a hero. I assess the situation. Look round the field. Couple of short-legs, three slips, a gully and a man saving one on either side. Naturally I then play the first recorded ramp shot in history, sending a bemused-looking Wasim right over the keeper’s head and full into the sightscreen where the ball remains lodged to this day.”
Truth and fiction collide as Phil Tufnell reimagines a classic World Cup encounter, in ‘My Perfect Day At The Cricket’

WCM 16 cover

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