Ben Stokes, one of the finest cricketers of this generation, took the fraternity by surprise with his decision to retire from ODIs after the first game between England and South Africa at his home ground in Durham.
Looking back at his ODI career, we are all aware of the quality that he brought to the English side with bat and ball. What slips under the carpet is the fact that Stokes also contributed immensely as a fielder. His energy, presence of mind, and skills are a captain’s delight and Stokes pulled off some incredible catches in ODIs as well.
Here’s a look at three of his magnificent catches in the ODIs:
#1 One-handed blinder vs South Africa (May 30, 2019)
In the opening game of the 2019 ICC World Cup between England and South Africa, Ben Stokes pulled off a one-handed blinder to end Andile Phehlukwayo's innings. Phehlukwayo slog swept an Adil Rashid delivery through deep mid-wicket with proper connection but Stokes somehow appeared out of nowhere.
He launched himself into the air perfectly, that too backwards, stretched out his arm and grabbed the ball reverse cupped.
It was a certain six but Stokes' brilliance not only prevented that but also helped get rid of the batter. It was a spectacular effort, one which proved his supremacy as an athlete.
#2 Diving catch vs India (July 17, 2022)
In the third ODI of a three-match series against India in July 2022, Stokes held on to a stunner to help England see the back of Hardik Pandya who was playing beautifully until then. Pandya mistimed a pull off pacer Brydon Carse and found a diving Stokes at mid-wicket who took the catch just inches above the ground. His elbow hid the ground but the genius that he is, he held on to the ball.
Stokes struggled to run during the game but, despite that, he put in 100 percent to break the partnership between Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya and offer England a slice of hope. India eventually won the game as Pant smashed his maiden ODI ton.
#3 One handed screamer vs South Africa (February 3, 2016)
Stokes and his one-handed catches against South Africa is a story in itself. Three years before his World Cup blinder, he had taken another magnificent catch against the Proteas.
The game was the first of five ODIs during England's tour of South Africa in 2016. This time, the victim was AB de Villiers, who had slapped a Moeen Ali delivery down the ground, only to find Stokes running all the way from long-on and grabbing the ball one-handed, as if he was plucking a fruit from a tree.
Coincidentally, whilst Stokes was completing the catch, an advertisement hoarding behind him read "The Perfect All-Rounder". Something which Stokes is, in every sense.