Ben Stokes: How to find redemption after World Twenty20

Ben Stokes has massive future with England - Ian Bell

If he slept at all on Sunday night, Ben Stokes woke on Monday morning to find himself as the latest iconic image of British sporting heartache.

Smashed for four consecutive sixes as West Indies won the World Twenty20 in one of the great sporting finishes of recent times, the image of the England all-rounder crouched with head in hands, hugged by a tearful Joe Root, is being replayed everywhere - even on a dancing Usain Bolt's Instagram account.external-link

But it doesn't have to end like this.

BBC Sport is well versed in the disaster to triumph narrative - and here are the steps Stokes can take to secure sporting redemption.

1. Accept the negative headlines

"Unfortunately for Stokes, whenever there is a World Twenty20, that final over will be shown. For as long as he is playing T20 cricket, it will be flying around. He will have to get over it." BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew.

"Ben Stokes will be hurting for a long time," former England captain Michael Vaughan said in Monday's Telegraph. "Some will say he is a tough lad and will get over it. Yes, he is strong but he is human too and it is going to be a while before he recovers from what happened in the final over."

Ben Stokes
A selection of the newspaper headlines on Monday

BBC Sport's chief sports writer Tom Fordyce: "Looking at Ben Stokes at the denouement of a remarkable World T20 final - slumped on his haunches, eyes red, hands clasped together, thousand-yard stare - you might wonder how he could ever be the same again.

"Six. Six. Six. Six. Stokes gone from snarling fast bowler to broken man, from the finisher to the finished."

Marathon Bet
A selection of tweets to #bbccricket
Gary Davis: Ben Stokes is the cricket equivalent of Aston Villa.
Chris Rhodes: I'm sorry but it is professional sport and Stokes bottled it.
Wayne Ellis: Should make Stokes walk back home after that. Anyone with a brain would have changed it up after the first 6. Utterly clueless.
Hammi: No sympathy for Stokes. I'm sorry you don't bowl dross in the slot 4 balls in a row. England choke again! Unacceptable!
Nick Anderton: Forget death bowling, that was give up and go home bowling from Stokes.
Josh Thomas: It's worse than missing a penalty in a shootout. It's like taking and missing every penalty for your team.

2. Deal with the criticism

Archive: Beckham sent off at 1998 World Cup

So far, there has been more support than blame for Stokes. Even his opponents have been divided.

"We keep telling him when we play against him 'do not speak to me because I'm going to perform'. Well, he doesn't learn," chided West Indies man-of-the-match Marlon Samuels, his feet up on the table as he gave his post-match views on Stokes. "He had so much to say to me that I knew I had to be right there at the end... again."

But Stokes' nemesis Carlos Brathwaite described him as "an absolute legend" adding: "Cricket can be a cruel game, and a lot of people can be on him. You shouldn't forget what he has done for England in the past couple of months."

Former footballer David Beckham got plenty of flak after his red card against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

However, Beckham navigated a hostile England post-match dressing room,external-link burning effigies at Premier League away games and fever-pitch interest in his private life, to single-handedly drag England to the 2002 World Cup, where his penalty beat Argentina in the group stages.

He's now the darling of a nation, so there's time yet for Stokes to take Beckham's 'Golden Balls' crown.

At least Stokes hasn't karate-kicked anybody. Eric Cantona came back from the career low of a nine-month ban to lead Manchester United to the Premier League and FA Cup Double.

"Conduct like that is unacceptable... a disgrace."

3. Cry if you need to

Murray's tears in defeat

Don't be afraid to show emotion. The moment a sporting nation fell in love with Andy Murray was when he started crying having just lost the Wimbledon final, despite being a set in front against Roger Federer.

Tears flowed. It was a cathartic moment, especially for the Scot, who cleared his blurry vision and, 12 months later, became the first Briton to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 77 years.

Then there is Jana Novotna. Five years after the Czech tennis player crumpled on the royal shoulder of the Duchess of Kent after throwing away the 1993 women's Wimbledon final, she relived the same Centre Court ceremony, only this time as a champion.

Highlights - Murray wins Wimbledon title

4. But stay positive

It can happen to the very best. Just ask the top Test bowler in the world - England's Stuart Broad.

Aged 20, the young pace bowler was mauled for 36 off one over against Indian haymaker Yuvraj Singh - each delivery slammed for six as Twenty20 history was made.

Broad, who has since won the World Twenty20 (2010) and four Ashes series (2009, 2010-11, 2013 and 2015), later said:external-link "Those six balls didn't suddenly make me a bad bowler, and I can even laugh about it with people."

Broad delighted with 'dream' day

When double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton said she could become a jump jockey at Cheltenham in 12 months, people laughed, people scoffed, people said it was a publicity stunt.

Then she fell off. And fell off again. But a fifth-placed finish in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham last month silenced the critics and left Pendleton heralding the "greatest achievement of my life".

Pendleton 'thrilled' by Cheltenham ride

Stokes once admittedexternal-link he has "always thought I'm not good enough", recounting his early career: "I remember my first game for Durham. I was petrified. My first game for Cumbria, I was sick after lunch because of the nerves."

The lesson for Stokes - to borrow from Rudyard Kipling's poetry - is to stare down those two imposters triumph and disaster... and watch them both sail down leg side.

5. Don't lash out

Ben Stokes

Stokes does like a bit of sledging on the cricket field, as Samuels has highlighted.

But he has been sensibly measured on social media so far - a trap into which other high-profile sportsmen and women have sometimes fallen.

It is a case of letting your actions speak louder than 140 characters. Or just finding the right words that explain your actions.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan, speaking about failure
Basketball legend Michael Jordan, speaking about failure

6. Learn from failure

With a rap sheet of biting, gouging and head-butting, labelled a "thug", a "terrible role model" and banned from a home World Cup, Dylan Hartley was struggling to make headlines for the right reasons last year.

Fast-forward 12 months and the new England rugby union captain has just captured his country's first Grand Slam in 13 years.

"I will get reminded of it daily," Hartley said of his unwanted disciplinary record. "I have learned my lessons."

Captain Hartley to 'lead by example'

Rory McIlroy describes his 2011 Masters meltdown as an "unravelling" where he "learned so much about myself and what I needed to do next time".

At the time, the 21-year-old was chasing his maiden major win and a final-day collapse threatened to dim the starlight surrounding the Northern Irishman before he had even had chance to shine.

McIlroy won the US Open later that year, followed by the US PGA in 2012 and 2014 and the 2014 Open.

Tom Fordyce: "His body language on Sunday evening in Eden Gardens may not have indicated it, but Stokes is a cricketer who thrives in the unholy moments where others fear to go.

"But just as Rory McIlroy could not have collapsed so spectacularly at the 2011 Masters had he not been exceptional enough to hold a four-shot lead going into the final round, so Stokes went through that final over evisceration because he was good enough to be there.

"He was England's best death bowler. He remains England's best death bowler, and their best of a lot else too."

Open 2014: Rory McIlroy holes winning putt

Cheer up Ben, it could be worse...

We asked our long-suffering BBC Sportsday readers about their tales of #mysportingheartache. We don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Ruben Stafford
Former Scotland international David Sole joined the BBC Sportsday debate
Former Scotland international David Sole joined the BBC Sportsday debate

Anthony McMahon: "Liverpool and England supporter. I could be a while, I'll get back to you."

Mikey Davidson: "In 2004, both my teams got relegated on the same weekend, Carlisle (relegated from League Two) and Leeds (relegated from the Premier League). Me and my then girlfriend also split up on the Saturday night."

Richard Burt: "Watching Bournemouth get related from League One at Carlisle and then having an eight hour journey home."

Joe Mooney

Rob Howard: "England losing 2-1 to France to those two late goals at Euro 2004. I went and immediately sold Zidane from my PES Master League team."

John Abbott: "As a Tranmere fan watching us reach the Championship play-offs three times in the 1990s along with reaching the Carling Cup final (lost them all) and now languishing in the Conference with a slim chance of promotion back to the Football League. Life is cruel!"

Mark Harrison: "Thinking the Premier League title was gone, only to have it dangled in front of you before being snatched away again... Aguerooooo!"

Marvellous Chiome

Rich Paish "Yesterday was disappointing, but the 2005 Champions Trophy final between these same teams probably my biggest disappointment as I was there. I'm sick of them beating us in finals now."

Alyson Wray: "Scotland's exit from the rugby World Cup courtesy of appalling refereeing error!"

Andy Holmes: "The last five years as a Villa fan".

David Cheesman