England’s World Cup hopes get boost as Ben Stokes returns to ODI setup

In a significant development, Ben Stokes makes a comeback to the England ODI setup and the World Cup 2023 squad, reversing his retirement decision. Learn about Stokes’ return ahead of the upcoming New Zealand series and the impact on England’s World Cup campaign.

Ben Stokes, the captain of England’s Test team, decided on Wednesday to reconsider his decision to retire from the 50-over format and will play again in the forthcoming four-match series against New Zealand, giving England a significant boost ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

The World Cup will begin with England playing New Zealand in a rematch of the thrilling 2019 final at Lord’s, and selector Luke Wright announced that the 15 players picked for the New Zealand ODIs are also on the provisional roster for that tournament.

“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.

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Stokes said last month that he has no plans to change his mind about retiring from one-day cricket and participating in this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Instead, he will take a break from the game to address the persistent knee issue that prevented him from playing an all-around role during the Ashes.

Stokes will play as a specialist batter and his role with the ball will be restricted due to his knee problems.

“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.

Young hitter Harry Brook and star quick Jofra Archer are not included in the side for the four-match ODI series against New Zealand. As a result, Brook will not play in his first World Cup.

Notably, Archer bowled the essential super over that helped England win the 2019 World Cup. However, for almost the entire time since that victory, he has had to battle injuries on a constant basis.

Wright disclosed that Archer would serve as a travelling reserve for England during the World Cup.

“Regarding the World Cup, unfortunately, we’re just running out of time. He’s not going to come round 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.

-IANS

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