Stokes learning to curb anger

  • Last Updated: April 18 2014, 1:58 BST

Ben Stokes is learning the hard way, for the second time in his life, that he must keep his anger under control if he is to make the most of his outstanding natural talent.

Stokes learning to curb anger

The England all-rounder has had more than a month already to regret the flash of temper, after making a duck against West Indies in Bridgetown, that saw him lash out at a dressing-room locker and break a bone in his right wrist.

The 22-year-old has paid a significant price already, missing England's ICC World Twenty20 campaign in Bangladesh and earning inevitable rebukes from team management - and his dad.

Nothing anyone said was more severe, though, than his own judgment - especially because this was a lesson he thought he had taken in years ago.

The stakes were not as high as missed international fixtures when a teenage Stokes had his previous argument with a fire door.

But a broken bone back then too left him with time on his hands to ponder the error of his ways.

This time, he is determined there will be no more self-inflicted injuries.

"I don't think punching lockers is the way forward.

"There is only going to be one winner there ... it is on the pitch where I should be showing my emotions.

"Next time I look at a locker, I'll know what it did to me."

He gave himself a very similar talking-to once before, and knows there are unlikely to be any third chances.

"I did it when I was a lot younger and I thought I'd moved on from it then.

"I broke a bone then as well. It wasn't a locker - it was a fire door, playing club cricket."

Scroll on a decade or so - after a miserable run of 13 runs in five innings, and no wickets either - it was the sight of his own face which did for him.

"Funnily enough, there was a picture of myself on the locker.

"(But) it was more about failure on a personal level.

"I'm very passionate about what I do ... but on that occasion it came out in a way that I regret.

"I hope in the future, if I get to that point again, I'll be able to deal with it in a way that doesn't break my wrist.

"I don't take it out on my equipment, but I'd rather I'd broken my bat.

"I just hope never again to show that kind of emotion off the field that results in an injury.

"But I definitely don't want to lose that edge on the field."

Stokes' father Ged, a former New Zealand rugby league player who went on to coach in the north-west of England, took a dim view of his son's tantrum - as did his employers.

"He just called me a wally. He wasn't best pleased," Stokes added.

"The management were obviously disappointed, and I let them know that I was disappointed with myself.

"I spoke to the team before I left and said I was sorry for letting them down.

"Gilo [coach Ashley Giles] didn't really tell me off - he didn't have to.

"I'd done worse in terms of what I said to myself than anything he could have said."

At a time when the England team is in a state of flux, after their Ashes whitewash, the consequences of Stokes' injury are all the more frustrating for a young player who announced himself to the wider world with a memorable maiden Test century in Perth four months ago.

"I was more gutted about missing out on my first World T20," he said.

"It was a dampener not to be a part of that, and (then) having this time off at this stage of the season."

He still does not know when the scaphoid bone will be sufficiently healed for him to even pick up a bat, but is still optimistic about being back for Durham and England soon.

"There's no date set ... I'll see a specialist again on the 12th of next month," he said.

"At the moment it seems to be going really well - (there are) no signs to say I'll be out for longer than anticipated."

In the meantime, Stokes is having occasional appointments too with England's sports psychologist Mark Bawden - to try to make doubly sure he does not let his temper take over again.

"It is about having some chats with him, and you would just let out things you wouldn't tell someone on the street," he said.

"He gives you different ways on how to handle things. Anything to stop me doing what I did must be good."

* Ben Stokes was speaking ahead of the start of the NatWest T20 Blast season. Blast off is Friday 16th May, tickets can be purchased from

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