Ben Stokes to come out of ODI retirement for World Cup: Reports

The Telegraph has reported that Ben Stokes is ready to make a comeback as a specialist batter for England’s World Cup defence. 

England are set to receive a huge boost for their ODI World Cup title defence with Ben Stokes willing to come out of retirement. Stokes’ return should strengthen the defending champions, who will begin their campaign with a clash against New Zealand in the opening game of the World Cup on October 5th.

The star all-rounder had shocked the cricketing world in July last year when he announced his ODI retirement citing workload issues. Stokes had said playing three formats is unsustainable with the amount of cricket that is being played, and had urged the cricketing bodies to look into the scheduling.

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However, England remained hopeful that Stokes would be available for the World Cup. There have been whispers but now more positive reports have emerged with The Telegraph stating, “Stokes is prepared to reverse his one day international retirement to help England’s World Cup defence in India this year.” 

Ben Stokes on track to make the World Cup

Speaking to The Daily Mail, England’s white-ball coach Matthew Mott had earlier said Stokes brings invaluable experience with him and they would be happy to play him just as a batter. 

“There has not been a clear direction on what he’s going to do yet, but we are still hopeful. I’ve always said his bowling would be a bonus, but just look at what he brings with the bat, even in the field. Watching him throughout the whole Ashes series, he had such a great presence. He’s done it for years when it comes to performing in one-day cricket and so he’s an invaluable commodity,” said Mott. 

Stokes is likely to slot into the middle order straightaway, playing the same role as he did previously. He was the hero for England in their historic title win in the 2019 ODI World Cup, where he played a crucial knock in the final and was adjudged the player of the match. He also delivered for England in their 2022 T20 World Cup win in Australia, scoring a half century in the final against Pakistan. 

Time and again, Stokes has shown his immense temperament to rise to the big occasions and the England ODI captain Jos Buttler would be happy to share the batting responsibility with his old partner in crime. 

England haven’t played much ODI cricket in recent times and there are concerns they could be under-prepared for the tournament. However, they have seven ODIs and two warm up matches lined up to get into the rhythm.

The report in the newspaper also suggested that Stokes is prepared to miss out on next year’s Indian Premier League if need be. Stokes has a lucrative contract with Chennai Super Kings but did not play much part in the 2023 edition with injury concerns. He could miss the next year’s season as well, with England scheduled to play a five-match Test series in India in February-March. Stokes also needs to get a surgery done for his knee troubles and the IPL window seems to be the most feasible option. 

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