England all-rounder Ben Stokes created arguably the most controversial moment in ODI cricket in Sunday’s explosive World Cup final against New Zealand.
He created sensation again on Wednesday, with revelations he asked the umpires to strip England of four crucial runs.
In the final moments of Sunday’s match at Lord’s, with the home side needing nine runs from three balls to seal the win, Stokes had a throw from Black Caps fielder Martin Guptill deflect off his bat and run to the boundary.
He was awarded six runs, despite having completed only two.
Australian umpire Simon Taufel has already said he considered that an umpiring error and a “clear mistake” – and that England should have been awarded only five runs.
Stokes went on to get two singles off the final two balls. That forced a tie and a super over, in which both teams scored 15 runs.
England was then declared the winner of the World Cup on a countback of boundaries.
But Stokes’ Test teammate in the looming Ashes series, Jimmy Anderson, has told a BBC podcast that the World Cup hero, who was hugely apologetic when extra runs were awarded, had appealed to the umpires to overturn their decision.
“The etiquette in cricket is if the ball is thrown at the stumps and it hits you and goes into a gap in the field you don’t run,” Anderson told the Tailenders podcast as England continued to celebrate its first World Cup win.
“But if it goes to the boundary, in the rules it’s four and you can’t do anything about it.
“I think, talking to Michael Vaughan who saw him after the game, Ben Stokes actually went to the umpires and said, ‘Can you take that four runs off. We don’t want it’.
“But it’s in the rules and that’s the way it is.
“It’s been talked about for a while among the players, potentially that being a dead ball if it does hit the batsman and veer off somewhere.”
Christchurch-born Stokes apologised to the Black Caps on the field. He continued to do so after the match, suggesting he might have to say sorry “for the rest of my life” for the extra runs which he labelled “fluke”.
The Black Caps have been devastated but publicly philosophical about suffering the closest of all losses on Sunday. New Zealand news website Stuff reports that captain Kane Williamson and coach Gary Stead seemed unaware of the finer details of the rule that could have saved the Kiwis at least one crucial run.
Earlier, Williamson told radio in New Zealand that no one lost the final – despite England being declared the winner.
“At the end of the day, nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” he said.
Nonetheless, the result was “pretty tough to get your head around – I think it will take time to reflect with a rational mind”.