Stokes is back! England all-rounder reverses ODI retirement
Ben Stokes will be part of England’s World Cup squad after reversing his decision to retire from one-day international cricket.
Stokes is included in the 15-man squad for the series against New Zealand which will also play in the World Cup.
Batters Harry Brook and Ben Duckett have been left out, while pace bowler Jofra Archer will not be fit in time.
Uncapped Surrey fast bowler Gus Atkinson, 25, is included in a group which will be led by Jos Buttler.
England will defend the trophy in India in October and November having famously won it on home soil four years ago.
Their opening match is against New Zealand – a repeat of the thrilling 2019 final – in Ahmedabad on October 5.
England squad for ODI series against New Zealand: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
England squad for T20 series against New Zealand: Jos Buttler (captain), 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, Luke Wood.
England can still make changes to their squad for the World Cup up to September 28, but barring injuries, these 15 players will make the trip.
There are nine survivors from the England squad that won the 50-over World Cup for the first time, including Stokes, who was player of the match in the final.
The all-rounder retired from ODIs in July of last year, saying that playing three formats was “unsustainable”. He continued to captain the England Test side and playing in T20 internationals, going on to have a starring role in the final as England lifted the World Cup in the shortest format last November.
As recently as last month he reiterated that he remained retired from ODIs and had planned to use a six-month break from Test cricket to address a long-term left-knee problem.
However, white-ball coach Matthew Mott said captain Buttler would approach Stokes over a return, resulting in his inclusion for the four matches against New Zealand in September and the World Cup that follows.
“It wasn’t really a case of changing his mind. He was always interested in coming back,” said national selector Luke Wright.
“It wasn’t a case of needing to beg him or anything like that, he was always keen, so it was actually fairly straightforward. Once his body was in a good place and he’d had a rest, he was really keen to play.”
Given the issues with his knee, Stokes’ role with the ball will be limited, but England have flexibility through all-rounders Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes.
His inclusion as a batter squeezes out Yorkshire’s Brook, who has done so much to impress across all formats since making his England debut last year.
“It’s as hard a decision as you’re ever going to get,” said Wright. “There’s no doubting he’s someone we couldn’t think any more highly off. But it’s just that middle order with Stokesy coming back, that it was going to squeeze – it made it incredibly tough.”
Archer, 28, bowled the super over in England’s final win four years ago, but has been plagued by injuries throughout almost the entire time since.
He has missed all of the home summer with a recurrence of a stress fracture in his elbow and though he has returned to training with Sussex, it was felt that the World Cup has come too soon.
A best-case scenario for Archer would be to travel as one of three reserves, potentially fit to play in the second half of the tournament.
“There has got to be a duty of care with Jof,” added Wright. “We know how desperate we all are to have him, but we’ve also got to get it right for him.
“He’s been very unfortunate with these injuries, [so] we do have to get it right. As much as the temptation is to try and rush him in and get him in for the start of this World Cup, unfortunately we’re just going to run out of time.” (BBC Sport)