The ancient Greeks had a name for it: aristeia—a warrior’s sublime moment, the defining blaze of glory, the acme, the apex, the summit. In summer 2019, Ben Stokes unleashed two such explosions of greatness, each one enough to cement his reputation as one of the foremost all-around talents in cricketing history. Returning from an eight-match ban for “bringing the game into disrepute,” following a 2018 prosecution—and subsequent acquittal—for affray, he demonstrated not just his world-class talent as batsman, bowler and fielder, but also the fine-tuned quality of his cricketing brain, his exquisite ability to read a game and time his responses to it. Without him, England would not be world cricket champions and we would have lost a subsequent five-match series to our old rival Australia. He’ll never have to buy a drink again.
Fry is a U.K.-based actor, writer and comedian