Veteran England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been included in the England squad captained by Jos Buttler for the forthcoming four-match ODI series against New Zealand on home soil. Interestingly, the star all-rounder stepped away from the format in 2022 during the home series against South Africa.
However, the England Cricket Board (ECB) has managed to persuade him to return in preparation for the 2023 ODI World Cup. Initially, the notion of Stokes rejoining ODIs was rejected, particularly due to his plan to address his problematic knee through surgery.
Nevertheless, he is expected to manage the upcoming ODI season and the Test series against India by solely batting before seeking medical attention. This decision could potentially result in the all-rounder’s absence from the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued a concise statement about Ben Stokes’ comeback to the team. Luke Wright, the national selector for the England Men’s team, remarked:
“The return of Ben Stokes only adds to that quality with his match-winning ability and leadership. I am certain that every fan will enjoy seeing him back in an England ODI shirt again.”
Some fans expressed dissatisfaction with the casual approach towards retirement in contemporary cricket, while others were thrilled about the chance to see the player return to ODIs.
Here are the responses on Twitter:
Playing New Zealand with a World Cup ahead?
Ben Stokes: pic.twitter.com/qyBunObZVu
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) August 16, 2023
No way he was going to miss the marquee event of the year.
— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) August 16, 2023
— RVCJ Sports (@RVCJ_Sports) August 14, 2023
As expected Ben Stokes is back for the ODI World Cup 😂 pic.twitter.com/4cU7FTdO4q
— R A T N I S H (@LoyalSachinFan) August 16, 2023
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨
Ben Stokes is returning to the England Men's ODI team ahead of the World Cup. IT'S OFFICIAL 😍
— England's Barmy Army 🏴🎺 (@TheBarmyArmy) August 16, 2023
Ben Stokes’ most recent ODI participation was on July 19, 2022
The all-rounder participated in just 10 ODIs following the victorious 2019 World Cup campaign held on home turf. He had also taken a break for mental health reasons in the meantime. However, the key point he emphasized was that managing all three formats in international cricket along with franchise commitments became overwhelming.
Stokes revealed his retirement choice after the initial ODI against South Africa in 2022, held at his hometown Durham. During the match, he managed just five runs from 11 balls and was taken out by Aiden Markram.
England’s forthcoming white-ball series against New Zealand is set to commence on August 30, with the ODIs slated to start from September 8 onward.
England ODI Squad:
Jos Buttler (captain), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.