'Take them off': Ben Stokes' extraordinary 'request' revealed

It was the incident that divided the cricket world and one that some still believe decided the Cricket World Cup.

But according to one England great, Ben Stokes was not on the side you might have thought after his team benefitted from an unlikely clash between bat and ball.

Needing nine runs from the final three balls to win the final, England were handed a huge slice of luck when the ball ricocheted off Stokes’ bat while he was running and it raced away to the boundary.

As Stokes was coming back for a second run, the umpires awarded England the two runs plus another four for the overthrows – six in total.

That ruling was questioned upon an inspection of the rulebook and decorated former umpire Simon Taufel declared the officials made a 'clear mistake' with their interpretation of law 19.8.

The Australian umpire said England should only have been awarded five runs, rather than six.

Now, in the days after the country soaked up their first World Cup triumph, Test star Jimmy Anderson has revealed Stokes apparently asked the umpires to reverse their decision.

“The etiquette in cricket is if the ball is thrown at the stumps and it hits you and goes into a gap in the field you don’t run,” Anderson told a BBC podcast.

“But if it goes to the boundary, in the rules it’s four and you can’t do anything about it.

“I think, talking to Michael Vaughan who saw him after the game, Ben Stokes actually went to the umpires and said 'can you take that four runs off? We don’t want it’.

Ben Stokes put his hands up to apologise immediately after the bizarre overthrows incident. Pic: Getty

“But it’s in the rules and that’s the way it is.”

Whether the umpires would have taken the runs off the board is one question – and the likely answer is no.

The other is whether Anderson's second-hand information from Vaughan is totally accurate, and that will remain up in the air until Stokes speaks again.

But the allrounder, who was once given out obstructing the field against Australia in 2015, was clearly shocked to have realised his bat redirected the ball from New Zealand's throw.

“I will be apologising to Kane for the rest of my life," the Kiwi-born England star said after the match.

The apparent mistake by the umpires affected more than the score to the tune of an added run.

Had the rules been applied correctly, Stokes would have been at the other end for the penultimate ball of the innings.

Adil Rashid should have taken strike with England needing four runs to win from two deliveries.

But it was not to be, and to their credit nobody from New Zealand, the ICC or England has forced the issue.