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What Ben Stokes can teach us

 “There are no points for the draw.” Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty

Something went down in Rawalpindi, Pakistan last week “that we can all learn an awful lot from”, says Giles Coren in The Times. England’s Test cricket team beat Pakistan, in Pakistan, for only the third time in more than 60 years. It’s because the England captain, Ben Stokes, inspired his men to play to win rather than to draw, even though this risked an embarrassing defeat. Stokes knows all about courting disaster: in 2017, he beat up someone outside a Bristol nightclub, risking his entire career, because the man was threatening a gay couple. Stokes was dropped from the England team, “cleared of affray, came back, rose again”.

We could all achieve so much if we freed ourselves from the fear of failure. You wouldn’t glumly settle for being “a lawyer or a banker or a dentist” – you’d pursue “a more exciting but riskier career”. You wouldn’t compromise on who you married or your choice of friends. What might the bestseller lists look like if publishers took a risk on new writers, “rather than ploughing all their resources into mystery novels by game show hosts”? As for the climate crisis, you can’t worry about a few dog-walkers “not wanting to look at windmills on a pretty evening”, or settle for adding a few cycle lanes – you have to throw the kitchen sink at it. “Now!” Because with all this, as with Test cricket, “there are no points for the draw”.