London, Aug 18: England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler said all-rounder Ben Stokes made the decision to reverse his ODI retirement and make himself available for the World Cup in India later in the year a week or ten days after the Ashes series ended.
Earlier this week, Stokes reversed his decision to retire from ODI cricket, which was made last year, for England’s upcoming series against New Zealand at home. It means that Stokes, Player of the Match in the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup final at Lord’s, will be available for the side’s defence of their title in India.
"I just left it to him to come to me if he wanted to come back. Any time a player of his quality is available again is fantastic. We're delighted to welcome him back. It was Ben's call. You all know Ben pretty well by now -- I don't think anyone talking to him would persuade him. We had some conversations quite a while ago about it," Buttler was quoted as saying by BBC.
Before the final match of the Ashes series at The Oval, which England won by 49 runs to draw the Ashes series 2-2 with Australia, Test skipper Stokes had maintained that he remained retired from ODIs and would not be going to the World Cup. But after the match was over, Stokes made a U-turn from his last year’s decision to play ODI World Cup.
"Ben is very much his own man, he makes his own decisions. I've played with him for a very long time, I'm good friends with him. Me badgering him and saying, 'come back, come back' is not really the way things work with Ben," added Buttler.
Buttler and Stokes are two of only four men, alongside Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid, to have played in England's World Cup finals wins - the 2019 ODI title and 2022 T20 World Cup victory.
"I don't think you need me to tell you what Ben Stokes brings to a team. I'm very happy. I'm delighted if he feels ready to come back and any time you can welcome him back into the team is great," Buttler said.
"He very much makes up his own mind and decides. We had some conversations around it and just left it in his court. I'm sure the lure of playing in a World Cup is quite big for someone as competitive and as driven as he is to play in an England shirt," he concluded.
England will open their 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 campaign against New Zealand in what will be the re-match of the 2019 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5. The ten-team tournament will conclude with the final to be held in Ahmedabad on November 19.