In a significant boost for England’s cricket squad ahead of the upcoming ICC Men’s ODI World Cup, star all-rounder and Test captain Ben Stokes has reversed his decision to retire from the One Day International (ODI) format. Stokes had initially announced his retirement from ODIs on July 18, 2022. After nearly 13 months, he has made a return to ODI cricket, with his selection for the series against New Zealand. This decision is expected to provide valuable preparation for the upcoming World Cup.
England’s Tour of New Zealand in the Spotlight
Later this month, New Zealand is set to host England for a cricket tour. The tour will include a four-match T20 series followed by a four-match ODI series. The T20 series will commence on August 30, and the ODI series will begin on September 8. Stokes’ inclusion in the squad for the New Zealand series is seen as a strategic move to strengthen England’s World Cup preparations.
England’s Recent Cricket Achievements
England’s cricket team currently holds the title of reigning ODI and T20 champions. In the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, they emerged victorious by defeating New Zealand in a thrilling final. Ben Stokes played a pivotal role in that final match, securing England’s maiden World Cup triumph. In the T20 format, England secured the championship in 2022, with Stokes contributing significantly to their success.
Selectors’ Views on Stokes’ Return
The England Cricket Board’s press release stated, “Ben Stokes, having reversed his decision to step back from the One-Day International format, makes a return to the England Men’s One-Day squad. Meanwhile, uncapped fast bowler Gas Atkins has been included in both the One-Day and T20 squads.” National Chief Selector Luke Wright expressed confidence in Stokes’ return, highlighting his potential to enhance both the team’s quality and leadership.
England’s Squad for the New Zealand Series
ODI Squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gas Atkins, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, David Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
T20 Squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gas Atkins, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Rehan Ahmed, David Malan, Adil Rashid, Josh Tongue, Jon Turner, Harry Brook, Ben Duckett, Luke Wood, Will Jacks.
Stokes’ Cricket Journey
To date, Ben Stokes has played 97 Test matches, 105 ODIs, and 43 T20 matches for England. He has amassed 6117 runs and taken 197 wickets in Test cricket, along with 2924 runs and 74 wickets in ODIs, and 585 runs and 26 wickets in T20s. Stokes played a pivotal role in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, scoring 465 runs in 11 matches. While his role in the ODI format is yet to be confirmed, media reports suggest he might focus on his batting skills rather than his all-rounder role.
Stokes’ Potential IPL Absence
There were speculations that if Stokes participates in the World Cup, he might miss the Indian Premier League (IPL) next year. Stokes was bought by the Chennai Super Kings for 16 crores INR in the IPL auction. However, he played only a few matches due to an injury this year. With England’s tour of India scheduled for early next year, Stokes’ potential unavailability for the IPL might affect his participation.
Knee Surgery for Stokes
Reportedly, Stokes requires knee surgery, and he believes that the IPL window could be the ideal time for the procedure. He could use the IPL period for rehabilitation and then continue playing international cricket afterward.