Former England head coaches Andy Flower and Trevor Bayliss are part of a group of five that have been recognised by the UK Coaching Awards for their contributions towards all-rounder Ben Stokes’ career.
Joining Flower and Bayliss in receiving this year’s Coaching Chain award are Geoff Cook and John Windows, both of whom coached Stokes at Durham and Jon Gibson, who coached Stokes at his first club, Cockermouth CC.
Stokes, who made his international debut in 2011 during Flower’s tenure, has gone on to represent his country in 175 matches and was Player of the Match in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, which England won. He then starred in the Ashes series that followed the tournament, hitting an unbeaten 135 at Headingley to seal a dramatic one-wicket win.
“Ten surreal minutes later, Stokes staggered out again, down those steps, dirt still caked across the front of his shirt. It was time to finish the job.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 15, 2019
“Ben is a once in a generation player and I’m proud to have played a small part in his journey as a cricketer and as a man,” Flower said.
“I was there for his debuts in limited-overs and Test cricket, and now I’ve had the pleasure of watching him become a real leader in English sport.
“There are a huge number of people behind the scenes who have made small contributions to help Ben achieve his potential. We are all proud of him.”
Bayliss, who departed from his role as England head coach this September after over four years in charge, said: “It is always a pleasure to coach an athlete like Ben; someone who is so dedicated to improving their craft and will go the extra mile to become the best.
“It’s a testament to his coaching pathway that Ben was already an incredibly talented cricketer when I started working with him for England in 2015 and it has been great to watch him develop into one of the world’s best players.”
Stokes noted the contribution of his coaches, saying: “I’m very proud that my coaches have been honoured with this award from UK Coaching. While athletes take the public accolades for their achievements, there are so many people along the way who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
“Whether it’s the person who drove me to matches when I was a youngster, or the coach who stayed after practice to throw me a few more balls – this award is for them and everyone else who has supported me throughout my career.”