Brendon McCullum (left) has a huge influence on Ben Stokes.
England cricket captain Ben Stokes has changed under the tutelage of New Zealand nationals Brendon McCullum says his biggest fan, mum Deb Stokes.
The English arrived in New Zealand this week after being delayed in Dubai due to flooding in Auckland. The side are currently “team building” in the South Island ahead of their first game in Hamilton next Wednesday.
While Deb Stokes, who is based in Christchurch, has not seen her son Ben since last year, she has seen positive changes in him after Black Caps captain McCullum took over as the former Test coach, she told the Podium podcast.
“He has developed more personal skills. He has always been a very skilled player, but the man’s management and ability to bring people together is really good to see. He has always had it in what I feel, but he just needs some guidance to bring it all together,” he said.
Clearly, Brendon and Ben are making good progress. I think both Kiwis should do well!
He believes the “Kiwi connection” will play a part in his son’s growth and success ahead of the two-Test series against the Black Caps, starting on February 16.
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“Both are from Aotearoa, both are making huge strides in cricket individually and in their careers.” [Ben] They said to me, ‘just a marriage, mum’. That’s what it was,” he said.
“They sing the same song sheet which is the most important thing. The perception is everything because you can tell how close the relationship is – personally and professionally – that they have. What has really worked, really well and lasts a long time.
Stokes also approves of his son’s signature after stepping away from the game briefly in 2021 to focus on his mental health and well-being. She was one of several high-profile sports people to do so, including White Ferns Melie Kerr and Sophia Devine, tennis star Naomi Osaka and gymnast Simone Biles.
Stokes said the break helped his son immensely.
“One of my biggest moments was when Ben took time out and how open and honest he was because he’s always going to be a public figure. So I’m incredibly, incredibly proud of how he handled that time,” he said.
“He made some good inquiries about his safety, and he paid. Look where he is now.’
She will be in the crew at the Reserve Basin test starting on February 24th “sitting on the fence”. He wants to do well for both his son and the Black Caps. While he is not an official member of England supporters club The Barmy Army, he joins forces with them as Victim Support – an organization he loves. Fundraising events will take place at both the trials in Tauranga and Wellington.
“While it’s only a short tour, we hope to get some good dollars into the coffers. [Victim Support] They do a wonderful job and are wonderful people. By highlighting this, sometimes it’s who you know…that’s how some lovely things happen.”