Buttler reveals conversation behind Stokes’ retirement reversal

London, Aug 20 (UNI) 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.

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, an ICC report on Sunday said.

Buttler revealed the details behind the conversation, stating that Stokes made the ultimate decision without needing much persuasion.

“To be honest, it was Ben’s call,” Jos Buttler said. “You all know Ben pretty well by now – I don’t think anyone talking to him would persuade him.”

“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,” he said.

“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,” Buttler said.

“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,” he added.

Stokes was one of the heroes of England’s win over New Zealand in the epic finale at the 2019 World Cup. When the chips were down, Stokes produced a Player of the Match-winning knock of 84* to force the game into a Super Over.

After his World Cup heroics, Ben Stokes played only 10 ODIs as England adopted a strategy to balance players’ workloads across various formats. Eventually, Stokes decided to step away from ODIs to extend his career in other formats.

However, the lure of the World Cup has changed Stokes’ mind and Buttler couldn’t be more elated to have a proven match-winner back for the biggest cricketing event of the year.

“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.”

Stokes is poised to make his ODI comeback in England’s upcoming four-match series against New Zealand, starting 8 September 8.

The series will be crucial for Stokes as well as both the teams to get in the groove for the World Cup which will commence with England and New Zealand facing off on October 5 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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