Stokes reverses ODI retirement ahead of World Cup

England captain Ben Stokes
England captain Ben StokesANI

London: England on Wednesday received a huge boost ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 as their Test captain Ben Stokes reversed his decision to retire from the 50-over format and will return to ODI setup in the upcoming four-match series against New Zealand.

England selector Luke Wright confirmed that the 15 players named for New Zealand ODIs are also part of the provisional squad for the World Cup, where their campaign will get underway against New Zealand, in a rematch of the epic 2019 final at Lord’s.

“It wasn’t really a case of changing his mind. He was always interested in coming back. He had to make that priority of getting through the Ashes, have a break and give the body a rest. It wasn’t a case of needing to beg him or anything like that, he was always keen, so it was actually fairly straightforward. Once his body was in a good place and he'd had a rest, he was really keen to play,” Wright was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Last month, Stokes revealed that he has no plans to reverse his decision to retire from one-day cricket and play at this year's ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and will take a break from cricket to sort out his chronic knee problem that hampered his all-round role during the Ashes.

Given the issues with his knee, Stokes’ role with the ball will be limited and he will play as a specialist batter.

“It’s not a simple one, is it? He’s coming to the World Cup and we’re going to pick him as a batter. We’re always assessing that as it goes, but we won’t be pushing him to bowl unless he's absolutely fit and raring to go. There’s still going to be a period for him to try and get this knee right but it’s obviously not an easy one,” said the England selector.

Meanwhile, the squad for the four-match ODI series against New Zealand does not include young batter Harry Brook and star quick Jofra Archer. That means that Brook misses out on a maiden World Cup appearance.

Notably, Archer delivered the crucial super over in England's 2019 World Cup win. However, he has faced a continuous struggle with injuries for nearly the entirety of the period since that triumph.

Wright revealed that Archer would be included in England's World Cup plans as a travelling reserve.

“Regarding the World Cup, unfortunately, we’re just running out of time. He's not going to come around quite quickly enough especially for the first part of the World Cup,” said Wright.

“There is a duty of care with him, we have to make sure that long-term we get it right because we see him as a huge asset for a long time. As much as the temptation is to try and rush him in and get him in for the start of this World Cup, unfortunately, we’re just going to run out of time,” he added.

England can still make changes to their squad for the World Cup up to September 28.

England's squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.

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