IT WAS the scene of his greatest triumph – well, his greatest triumph for 42 days.
Exactly six weeks after leading England to victory in the World Cup final, Ben Stokes led England to victory in the Headingley Ashes Test, his unbeaten 135 inspiring a one-wicket win that seems no less plausible now than it did at the time.
Now Stokes is to return to Headingley to play for its 100-ball franchise Northern Superchargers. The Durham man was picked by coach Darren Lehmann ahead of England Test captain Joe Root and his Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow, with the eight franchises each allowed one England red-ball centrally contracted player from their combined catchment area – in this case, Yorkshire and Durham.
Lehmann, the former Yorkshire and Australia batsman, chose Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid and David Willey as his two “local icons” for the five-week competition that starts in July. The rest of the squads will be picked on October 20. Lauren Winfield and Linsey Smith were the two central contract picks allowed for the Superchargers’ women’s team.
Stokes said: “Playing in front of the Headingley crowd is always an unbelievable experience, and it’s brilliant to be part of this new format. It’s fair to say it’s been quite a summer, so The Hundred is coming at the perfect time to give me another great challenge.”
Root will play for Trent Rockets, the Nottingham franchise, along with icons Harry Gurney and Alex Hales, and Bairstow for Welsh Fire, the Cardiff-based team, along with icons Tom Banton and Colin Ingram.
The other red-ball central contract picks were Chris Woakes (Birmingham Phoenix - icons Moeen Ali/Pat Brown); Rory Burns (London Spirit - icons Dan Lawrence/Eoin Morgan); Jos Buttler (Manchester Originals - icons Saqib Mahmood/Matt Parkinson); Sam Curran (Oval Invincibles - icons Tom Curran/Jason Roy); and Jofra Archer (Southern Brave - icons Chris Jordan/James Vince).