In a stunning reversal, Ben Stokes rejoins England’s ODI roster, setting sights on securing another World Cup championship. His presence injects fresh vigor into the team’s preparations for the high-stakes tournament.
In a surprising turn of events, England‘s cricket star Ben Stokes has decided to reverse his retirement from One Day International (ODI) cricket. Stokes, renowned for his spectacular performances, had bid farewell to the ODI format in July last year, citing the toll on his body from playing all three formats of the game. However, with the impending 50-over World Cup in India this October, Stokes has been named in England’s squad for the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand, marking his return to the shorter format.
Why Ben Stokes Reversed his ODI Retirement Decision?
Stokes’s decision to come out of retirement stems from a request made by the England team management, who sought his inclusion for the World Cup title defence. As the Player of the Match in the thrilling 2019 World Cup final, Stokes is a vital asset to England’s aspirations of retaining the trophy. Despite his previous concerns about the challenges of balancing multiple formats, his determination to contribute to another World Cup victory has driven his return.
Test Captaincy and Temporary Break
While Stokes will continue to lead the England Test side, the absence of Test cricket fixtures until January 2024 has provided him with a window to focus on ODIs. This temporary break from the longer format has allowed him to allocate his efforts towards the 50-over setup and prepare for the World Cup campaign.
No T20I Return
Interestingly, Stokes hasn’t been picked for the T20I series against New Zealand. While he hasn’t retired from T20Is, his appearances in this format for England have been sporadic. This highlights his commitment to excelling in ODIs, especially in the context of the World Cup.
New Squad Additions and Archer’s Absence
England’s white-ball squads for the ODI and T20I series against New Zealand have also seen some new faces. Uncapped Surrey fast bowler Gus Atkinson has earned his maiden international call-up and has been included in both formats. Meanwhile, Josh Tongue, who made his international debut during the Ashes series, has secured a place in the T20I squad.
Despite hopes for Jofra Archer’s return to the ODI squad for the World Cup, his ongoing recovery has led to his exclusion from the New Zealand series. He will only serve as a travelling reserve for the tournament in India.
Anticipated Series Kickoff
The ODI series between England and New Zealand is scheduled to begin on September 8 and will be contested at several iconic cricket venues, including Sophia Gardens, The Ageas Bowl, The Oval, and Lord’s. Stokes’s return has added excitement to the series, as fans eagerly anticipate witnessing his match-winning ability and leadership back in an England ODI shirt.
Luke Wright, England Men’s National Selector, expressed his delight at Stokes’s return, noting that it enhances the team’s quality and sets the stage for an intense clash with New Zealand, one of the world’s top cricketing nations.