In a major boost to England’s World Cup aspirations, star all-rounder Ben Stokes has made the remarkable decision to come out of ODI retirement and make himself available for the ICC World Cup 2023. This news is a pleasant surprise for cricket fans and the English team, as Stokes had officially retired from ODI cricket in July of the previous year. With this move, he aims to contribute his exceptional skills to help England defend their World Cup title.
Ben Stokes played a pivotal role in England’s historic World Cup victory in 2019, which ended the nation’s long wait for the coveted trophy. His scintillating performance, including a crucial match-winning knock in the final, has etched his name in cricketing history. Stokes was the highest run-scorer in the final against New Zealand and played a key role in England’s memorable win at Lord’s.
The reigning champions England eagerly anticipate Stokes replicating his heroics in the upcoming World Cup. The tournament, slated to take place from October 5 to November 19, promises intense competition among the world’s top cricketing nations.
Stokes’ inclusion in the provisional squad comes with a slight twist. Due to a chronic knee injury that has been bothering him, he is unlikely to contribute significantly as a bowler in the World Cup. While Stokes showcased his bowling prowess in the 2019 World Cup, capturing 7 wickets, his knee condition has necessitated a more specialized role in this edition.
England selector Luke Wright emphasized that Stokes will primarily be picked as a specialist batsman for the tournament, allowing him to focus on his batting prowess without the added burden of bowling duties. The team management will prioritize his fitness and well-being, ensuring he is fully ready to contribute effectively in whatever capacity.
“He’s coming to the World Cup, and we’ll pick him as a batter. We’re always assessing that as it goes, but we won’t push him to bowl unless he’s 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 not an easy one,” said Wright.
Stokes’ return to the squad bolsters England’s cricketing firepower and brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of performing under pressure.
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“You know, Stokesy, if ever there’s someone for the big moments, it’s Ben Stokes. I think that’s what it’s probably for him thinking it’s a last chance in the 50 overs to go and win it again. Who better for England to have someone like him come back for us? He loves the big moments. We’re all just so happy he’s back in the squad; I know it will give a big lift to the boys in that squad to have him back, and we all can’t wait to have him back and hopefully involved in lifting a trophy again for England,” he added.
England’s provisional squad for the World Cup: 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.