England cricketer Ben Stokes sheds some light on his shocking return to ODIs ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023 on September 7. English red-ball team captain has returned to 50-over format after 14 months of gap and revealed his decision to reverse ODI retirement to help his team win the upcoming mega tournament in India.
The 32-year-old all-rounder repeatedly squashed the rumours of his return from retirement during the Ashes 2023 but shocked the world after finding his name in England’s provisional squad for the World Cup. Star batter and the former captain Joe Root is also part of England’s World Cup team having last played ODIs in July 2022. Both Root and Stokes’s inclusion boost England’s chances at the World Cup who look forward to defending their title.
Stokes revealed that the words ‘World Cup’ and a challenge to defend it changed his mind about ODI retirement. He said that it was an easy decision to make upon making himself available after the recent Ashes.
“Back then, it was: ‘I’m done’,” Stokes told BBC. “But as time goes on and the opportunities come closer and closer, you think completely differently to when I made the decision. There were obviously a lot of things to think about. First and foremost, I needed to see how I got through the Ashes and then think about what I had after the World Cup. When I felt like I had to make a decision and make myself available, it was an easy one to make.
“The words ‘World Cup’ are pretty inspiring. Going into this one as world champions, playing a part in that in 2019, which was an unbelievable moment for us as a team and myself… the idea of going in and potentially being able to win back-to-back World Cups was one of the big things.”
Jos Buttler-led side faces New Zealand in the four-match ODI series at home starting on September 8 and takes on the Kiwis in the opening match of the ICC World Cup 2023 in Ahmedabad on October 5.