‘If I could have one player in the world, I would have Stokes’ – Justin Langer recalls hilarious reaction to Ben Stokes’ 2019 Headingley heroics

"He's just a great player. I used to watch him train, he was so fit, so strong,” said Langer.

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Justin Langer & Ben Stokes.
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Justin Langer & Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Visionhaus, ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Australia head coach, Justin Langer, recalled his reaction following Ben Stokes’ scintillating performance at Headingley in Leeds in 2019. Notably, it was Stokes’ unbeaten 135, which helped England win by the barest of margins in the thrilling contest against the Aussies.

It is worth mentioning that Australia retained the Ashes in 2019, after remaining on level terms 2-2 in the five-match series. However, it was the first time that the Aussies were unable to secure a series win away from home in the Ashes since 2001.

Recalling Stokes’ magnificent match-winning innings, former coach Langer expressed that the English skipper would be one player who he would be keen on coaching.

"I remember that night when they won, we were sitting in my hotel room and I FaceTimed my wife Sue, she said: 'What are you doing?'" Langer was quoted as saying by the Mirror.

“I said: 'I'm drinking Scotch.' She says: 'You don't drink Scotch.' I said: 'I do tonight baby.' It was the worst day of my cricket career. If I could have one player in the world, I would have Ben Stokes,” Langer continued.

'Jos, Ben Stokes, is he a good bloke?'- Langer on his curiosity about Stokes as a person

Furthermore, Justin Langer revealed his conversation with Jos Buttler in the dressing room which involved Stokes. Buttler stated that Stokes would make it to Langer’s favourites list, had he coached the English cricketer. This led Langer so curious that by the end of the celebration of Ben Stokes and Co, the Aussie decided to lift him on his shoulder for a ride out of the changing room.

“I remember it was a funny thing at the end of that series, we walked into the changing room and I said to Jos Buttler - because I played at Somerset - I said: 'Jos, Ben Stokes, is he a good bloke?' He goes: 'JL you would love him. If you ever coach him, he'll be your favourite player you've ever coached. Really mate, you'd love him.',” told Langer.

“Anyway, at the end of the night, I remember nicking one of the boys' baggy green caps - we'd had a few beers by this stage - I put a baggy green cap, put him over my shoulder and carried him out of the changing room. I said: 'Ben, you're coming with me.' And I just think like [Andrew] Flintoff, like [Kevin] Pietersen, he's just a great player. I just love him. I used to watch him train, he was so fit, so strong,” he concluded.

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