Jos Buttler denied pursuing Ben Stokes to return from his retirement from ODI cricket, saying that it was Stokes's call to come back
Ben Stokes. Pic/AFP
England's white-ball captain Jos Buttler denied pursuing Ben Stokes to return from his retirement in ODI cricket, stressing that it was Stokes's call to come back.
Ben Stokes retired from ODI cricket in July 2022 but reversed his decision and was named in England's provisional squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
One of the biggest takeaways from England's squad announcement for the New Zealand ODI series and the World Cup was the return of Ben Stokes to 50-over cricket.
"To be honest, it was Ben's call, You all know Ben pretty well by now - I don't think anyone talking to him would persuade him," Jos Buttler said as quoted by ICC.
England coach Matthew had Mott expressed interest in having Stokes return primarily as a batter, considering his knee injury. He had mentioned that Jos Buttler, the white-ball captain, would discuss the matter with Stokes before finalizing the squad.
"We had some conversations quite a while ago about it and just left it to him to come to me, basically, if he wanted to come back. We're delighted that he feels ready to come back and any time you can welcome him back into the team is great
"Ben is very much his own man, he makes his own decisions. I've played with him for a very long time, I'm good friends with him. Me badgering him and saying 'come back, come back' is not really the way things work with Ben. He very much makes up his own mind and decides.
"We had some conversations around it and just left it in his court. I'm sure the lure of playing in a World Cup is quite big for someone as competitive and as driven as he is to play in an England shirt. I'm delighted he felt up to it and could come back."
Stokes was one of the unsung heroes of England's dramatic World Cup victory over New Zealand. When the chips were down, Stokes delivered a Player of the Match-winning knock of 84* to force a Super Over.
The World Cup has altered Stokes' thinking, and Buttler is overjoyed to have a proven match-winner back for the year's biggest cricketing event.
"I don't think you need me to tell you what Ben Stokes brings to a team," Buttler added. "It's fantastic to have Ben back available. Any time a player of his quality is available again is fantastic. We're delighted to welcome him back," Buttler further added.
Stokes is set to make his ODI return in England's next four-match series against New Zealand, which begins on September 8th. The series will be essential for Stokes and both sides as they prepare for the World Cup, which begins on 5 October at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad with England taking on New Zealand.
(With agency inputs)