Ross Taylor reveals Ben Stokes wanted to play for New Zealand
Ross Taylor, the former New Zealand batting great, revealed that he made attempts to make Ben Stokes represent New Zealand - the country of his berth - during the late 2010s.
The incident dates back to 2010, when Stokes, playing for Durham, was asked if he would be keen to play for New Zealand by his teammate Taylor. Receiving a positive response and sensing enthusiasm, Taylor revealed reached out to then NZC CEO Justin Vaughan to let him know of the talented youngster.
The Christchurch-born and moved to England as a 12-year-old when his father, a professional rugby player, Gerard Stokes, got a professional league coaching job in Cumbria.
“He was 18 or 19 and very much a Kiwi,’’ Taylor wrote in his autobiography, "Ross Taylor Black & White", an extract of which was published by stuff.co.nz. “Over a Guinness, I asked him if he wanted to come and play in New Zealand. He was keen so I sent a message to New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan saying this guy Stokes was a really good young cricketer and interested in playing for New Zealand.
“Vaughan replied along the lines that he could start playing domestic cricket and we'd see where it went.
"I went back saying we'd have to offer him more than that because he wouldn't be interested if it meant starting at the bottom rung of the ladder. Obviously, it didn't come to anything.”
Stokes would go on to represent England at the U19 World Cup 2010 in New Zealand, wherein he’d impress with the bat and ball and score a hundred against India. He made his ODI and T20I debut for England in 2011 and earned his maiden Test cap during the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia and has since gone on to become one of modern-day greats.
His finest hour came in the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, wherein he led England to their maiden title glory with a thrilling super-over win against the Blackcaps.
"Ben was sincere about playing for New Zealand, but NZC would've had to have acted swiftly and decisively and given him some pretty solid assurances, which Vaughan clearly wasn't prepared to do," stated Taylor.
The 31-year-old recently announced his retirement from ODIs, not long after he took over as the full-time Test captain.