West Indies Twenty20 hero Carlos Brathwaite has offered commiserations to all-rounder Ben Stokes after his expensive last over cost England the chance of winning the ICC World Twenty20 World Cup for a second time on Sunday.
Brathwaite hit Stokes for four consecutive sixes when West Indies needed 19 from the final over.
“To Ben, tough luck, commiserations to you and the England team. I wish he has a long and successful career ahead of him,” said Brathwaite.
“He is an absolute legend in his own right.”
In the series victory over South Africa in January, Stokes hit the fastest 250 in Test history, seven months after scoring the fastest Test hundred at Lord’s,off only 85 balls, against New Zealand.
“You shouldn’t forget what he has done for England in the past couple of months,” Brathwaite added.
“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.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss said Stokes, 24, was “the heart and soul” of his team, adding no-one in the dressing room would be blaming the Durham all-rounder for the final-over loss.
“If we had a game tomorrow, he’d put his hand up to bowl the last over again,” said the Australian.
“If everyone put in half as much as Stokesy does, we’d go a long way.
“It doesn’t matter whether he is batting, bowling or fielding, he gives you 100 per cent until there’s nothing in the tank.
“The more of those type of cricketers we can produce, the better for England.”
Bayliss, though, believes English cricket remains on the up.
“Obviously the final was disappointing, but I’m extremely proud of the way they played through this last few weeks,” he said.
“As long as we keep playing good cricket and someone has to do something remarkable to beat us, we’ll win a lot of games.”
Mark Wood, a team-mate of Stokes for both England and Durham said Brathwaite was a “nice lad” and his comments were “spot on”.
But he was disappointed with Marlon Samuels for criticising Stokes in a post-match news conference.
The West Indies batsman, who scored 85 not out from 66 balls, criticised “nervous” Stokes’ for both his bowling and his sledging.
“I’m a bit biased as Stokesy is my pal, but it’s a bit of a cheap shot and I don’t think it’s the right thing to say at that time,” said Wood.
“You’ve got to play hard on the field but be humble and gracious off it.
“Marlon has played a great innings but now people are talking about his stupid comments after the game.”