Perhaps it's his hostile demeanour, his aggressive approach to everything he does on the field or even the angry tinge of red in his hair.
But no matter what he does, Ben Stokes seems to have a knack of riling up his opponents.
His latest run-in with a high-profile rival (this week being South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada) saw both his dismissals in the series-opening Lord's Test put under the microscope despite seemingly doing little to deserve the attention.
Rabada drew the ire of the International Cricket Council in England's first-innings when he gave Stokes a verbal volley after having him caught behind for 56.
Left "heartbroken" after copping a one-Test ban, the fierce pace prodigy wryly muzzled himself when he dismissed Stokes again in the second dig, ensuring a fresh set of headlines featuring Stokes' name would do the rounds.
It adds to a growing list of notable on-field squabbles that have coloured Stokes' 33-Test, six-year international career.
Less than two years after his Test debut against Australia in the 2013-14 Ashes series, Stokes had the first of what would become a series of heated confrontations with provocative allrounder Marlon Samuels.
After Samuels struck a century in the first-innings of the 2015 Grenada Test and claimed he was spurred on by sledging from Stokes and his England teammates, the West Indian held his hat to his chest and saluted Stokes when he dismissed him on the third day of the match.
The pair were soon at it again in the final of the next year's World T20 final in Kolkata. Hammered for four consecutive sixes in the last over the tournament by Carlos Brathwaite to hand the Windies a miraculous win, Stokes wasn't impressed by the lack of grace Samuels showed in the triumph.
Watching from the non-strikers' end for Brathwaite's blitz following his own terrific knock, Samuels sprinted off in delight and ripped his shirt off in frenzied celebrations with his ecstatic teammates. He later fronted up for the post-game press conference still in his pads and put his feet up on the table.
"Marlon’s conduct after West Indies’ victory ... showed a total disrespect for the game," Stokes later wrote in his aptly-titled book Firestarter.
"Without removing his batting pads, Marlon walked into a press conference, sat down and placed his feet on the desk. Totally lacking manners.
"It didn’t require him to give me a character assassination – bizarrely claiming I am some sort of 'nervous laddie' – to help me form the opinion that I do not like him one bit.
"I believe in the saying 'respect the game'. I don’t think he respects the game."
Stokes again found himself in the thick of things on the subcontinent later that year.
A heated quarrel with Tamim Iqbal, a rivalry resumed at last month's Champions Trophy, saw tensions spill over into the post-game handshakes after the second ODI. An altercation followed by an exchange with Sabbir Rahman during the ensuing Test series, which saw Stokes fined by the ICC.
Allrounder Shakib al Hasan then took a leaf out of Samuels' book, saluting Stokes after removing him in Bangladesh's historic win over England in Mirpur. A light-hearted discussion on social media confirmed there was no bad blood following the gesture on this occasion.
But Stokes landed in hot water again in India in December when he found himself duelling with another fellow firebrand, this time Virat Kohli.
Goaded by the India captain in Mohali after being stumped in the third Test, Stokes was sanctioned by the ICC for his "offensive" response, before covering his mouth when he dismissed Kohli the following day, not unlike Rabada's recent reaction.
Having managed to negotiate all of the above and still manage to consistently demonstrate why he's one of the most valuable players in all formats of the game, Stokes has arguably become England's most important player.
And with an Ashes series on the horizon, he looms as the perfect villain for Australian crowds.