London: Former England captain Paul Collingwood criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Tuesday, saying dropping Ben Stokes for the World Cup was a big mistake and claiming the young all-rounder could have won England the elusive trophy.
Stokes, batting at number five, hit an unbeaten 151 runs off 86 deliveries for England Lions against South Africa A Monday. He was dropped after struggling at number eight in Sri Lanka in December last year where he scored only 22 runs from two matches.
England have never won the World Cup, being the beaten finalists thrice.
Comparing the 23-year-old to Portugal's talismanic footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Collingwood said: "What England did with him is like telling Ronaldo to play at right-back. He could've won you the World Cup," he was quoted as saying bbc.com.
Collingwood, now part of the coaching staff for the Scotland cricket team also said: "The thing that frustrates me is that England were batting him in the number eight position."
"You've got to play him in the right position - whether that be four, five or six - and allow him to win games from that position. You've got a guy here who - if he came good - he could've won you the World Cup. He could have won three or four games, by himself," the 38-year-old added.
However, Stokes could still make the squad as a replacement for an injured player.
England's World Cup campaign starts Feb 14 against Australia in Melbourne.