Before the team defends its championship in India this fall, Ben Stokes, England’s Test captain and the star of their World Cup victory, decided against retiring from 50-over cricket. He will now make his comeback for the men’s ODI team in the next series against New Zealand.
The 32-year-old Stokes resigned from the 50-over format last summer, saying it was impossible for him to give his all in each of the game’s three formats and that the “England shirt deserves nothing less” than a complete dedication.
Stokes’ big-match temperament was an asset that England were reluctant to do without, though, given his prominent roles in the finals of both the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and the 20-over version in Melbourne last November. Jos Buttler, the captain, Matthew Mott, and the white-ball coach have been persistent in their efforts to entice Stokes back to the ODI format.
He has been properly included in a squad of 15, which England’s National Selector Luke Wright said is the group that will travel to India in October. There, they will begin their tournament against the same opponents, New Zealand, in a rematch of their epic Lord’s final from July 2019.
It wasn’t really a case of his opinion changing, according to Wright. “He had a constant desire to return. He was constantly interested, so there was no need to bribe him or do anything similar. He was quite eager to play once his body was in a decent place and he had had a chance to recover. From our perspective, we’re thrilled, and I’m sure England fans and everyone else can be as thrilled.
Despite this, Stokes will play as a specialist hitter due to the chronic knee issue that limited his ability to play an all-around role during the Ashes. Following England’s 2-2 draw in the Ashes last month, he had suggested that knee surgery would be an option before England’s Test tour of India in the coming year, but that possibility now seems to be off the table.
It’s hardly a straightforward one, is it? Wright continued. “We’re going to select him as a hitter for the World Cup. We continually evaluate that, but we won’t push him to bowl unless he is 100% healthy and ready to play. He will still need to try for a while to correct this knee, but it will evidently be difficult.
Ben Stokes is the person to have for the big times; you know Stokesy. I believe that’s what it is; he is likely thinking that he has one final opportunity to win it in the next 50 overs. Who would be a better choice to bring someone like him back for us than England? He enjoys significant events. We’re all simply so excited that he’s back on the team. I know having him back will inspire the other players greatly, and we all can’t wait for him to help England win a trophy once more.
Stokes is anticipated to be one of the nine World Cup 2019 survivors.
Stokes is expected to be one of the nine survivors from the 2019 World Cup, and Jonny Bairstow is also in line for his first white-ball internationals since breaking his leg in September last year. England does not have to name their provisional World Cup squad until September 5, and there is still time for changes up until September 28.
The notable call-up is for Surrey’s Gus Atkinson, a fast bowler who was clocked at 95 mph for the Oval Invincibles in the Men’s Hundred last week and who is in line to make his debut across both white-ball formats, as another of the 2019 heroes, Jofra Archer, is not yet fit for a recall despite England’s hopes that he could feature in the World Cup’s later stages.
Gus deserves to be there, first and foremost, Wright added. “I’m sure everyone has been watching him; he’s incredibly dynamic and terrific, not only in the Hundred but also in the Blast. He tagged my card and roughed me up a couple times while I was still playing. He is a valuable asset to us, so we are happy to give him this chance.
Wright admitted that there had to be a “duty of care” in managing Archer’s return due to a long-term elbow injury, in addition to the back stress fracture that prevented him from playing in the 2022 season, even though he indicated that Archer is anticipated to travel with the World Cup squad as a reserve.
Unfortunately, we’re just out of time with the World Cup, Wright added. “He won’t recover quickly enough, especially for the opening round of the World Cup. We have a responsibility to take care of him because we see him as a long-term asset that will be a great asset. Even if there is a strong temptation to rush him in so that he may watch the World Cup, we just won’t have enough time.
Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, two 2019 veterans who were in excellent form for the Test team during the most recent Ashes, as well as left-armers David Willey (who missed the cut for 2019) and Reece Topley—who made his comeback in the Hundred earlier this month after suffering a dislocated shoulder during his first IPL stint in April—all join Atkinson in the ODI pace attack.
Harry Brook, a rising star for England across all platforms, is noticeably missing from their World Cup ambitions. Brook will have to establish his case with the T20I team since Jason Roy is expected to continue his comeback after a hiatus of 18 months and Joe Root is a favorite for Indian conditions due to his skill against spin despite not having played white-ball cricket since July 2022.
It’s the most difficult decision you’ll ever have to make, according to Wright. He is without a doubt someone we hold in the highest regard. It is undeniable that he is a superstar and has a bright future with us in all capacities. That was a tremendously difficult choice we had to make. He must be disappointed, but in a squad of 15, someone will unavoidably be left out. Even though it was him this time, it wasn’t any easier.
Brook will be joined by a number of other players who may serve as World Cup traveling reserves, most notably Ben Duckett and Will Jacks, who are now ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the rankings for spin-bowling all-rounders, behind Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone.
The T20I team also includes Hampshire’s uncapped fast bowler John Turner, whose dismissal of Bairstow in a ferocious performance for Trent Bridge on Monday was a timely demonstration of his abilities. Rehan Ahmed, who is expected to succeed Adil Rashid as England’s top legspinner, is also included. After his breakthrough summer with the Test team, Josh Tongue is also selected in the 20-over setup and could get the chance to earn his England debut.
“We have been able to pick two exceptionally good squads,” continued Wright, “that highlight the depth of skill we have in white-ball cricket. Any series against New Zealand will be fiercely contested, giving us a great chance to put our skills to the test against one of the top teams in the world.
The English ODI team Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid,
Rehan Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Josh Tongue, John Turner, and Luke Wood are among the players who make up the captaincy of the team.
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