Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has not ruled out the possibility of coming out of ODI retirement for England’s title defence of the 50-over World Cup in India next year. The 31-year-old England Test captain had announced retirement from ODIs in July, citing pressure on his workload, but less than five months after that decision, he has left the door open for a possible U-turn. “Who knows how I might feel towards a World Cup at the time,” Stokes was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo website.
He was speaking ahead of the first Test against Pakistan which began here on Thursday. Stokes starred in England’s 2019 50-over World Cup final win and did the same again when they were crowned T20 champions in Australia in November.
The next 50-over World Cup will be held in India in October-November in 2023.
“It’s one of those things. Going to a World Cup is an amazing thing to do, to represent your country,” he said.
“But at the moment I’m not even thinking about that. My focus is solely on this series (against Pakistan).” Stokes was one of the players that missed training on Wednesday as a viral infection outbreak hit the English camp.
Stokes said he was approached by director of cricket Rob Key in the aftermath of the T20 success about a return for the 50-over World Cup.
“He pulled me to the side and as soon as he said ’50-over World Cup’ I just walked away,” said Stokes.
When Stokes announced his ODI retirement, he had said it should serve as a warning to authorities over the amount of multi-format cricket players are expected to play.
“There is too much cricket rammed in for people to play all three formats now,” he said in July.
“We are not cars, you can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out there and be ready to be fuelled up again.” He had then dismissed suggestion he would come back to play at the 50-over World Cup.
“It wouldn’t be fair on anyone who gets that opportunity with me not playing this format now to all of a sudden be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll come back’,” he had said.