England hopeful of Stokes’ retirement U-turn for World Cup

London, (UNI) England coach Matthew Mott wants Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the England squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

Ben Stokes retired from One Day Internationals in July 2022 and as recently as in the aftermath of the Ashes, had reiterated his intentions of staying retired from the 50-over format to be fit for the Test series against India in early 2024.

Stokes suffered a knee injury during his time in New Zealand back in February, causing him to miss most of the Indian Premier League season. Although he was ready to captain England in the Ashes, his involvement was mostly limited to batting due to the injury, bowling just 29 overs across five matches, an ICC report on Sunday said.

Nevertheless, Stokes has consistently demonstrated his value as a specialized batter.

England’s white-ball coach, Matthew Mott, is open to including him in the World Cup squad based solely on his batting prowess.

“Jos will probably lead the way on that communication, but Ben’s pretty straight with all of us,” Matthew Mott said. “We will see if he’s keen.”

“There has not been a clear direction on what he’s going to do yet, but we are still hopeful. I’ve always said his bowling would be a bonus, but just look at what he brings with the bat, even in the field,” he said.

“Watching him throughout the whole Ashes series, he had such a great presence. He’s done it for years when it comes to performing in one-day cricket and so he’s an invaluable commodity,” Mott said.

Ben Stokes was one of the heroes for England in the 2019 edition, winning the Player of the Match in the Final for his memorable unbeaten 84.

The other hero from the Final who bowled the crucial Super Over was Jofra Archer. After seeing the highest of highs in cricket, Archer’s career has dwindled due to multiple injuries.

There was some good news for the England fans recently when Sussex coach Paul Farbrace declared that Archer was ‘on course’ to be fit for the World Cup.

Matthew Mott revealed that England are willing to gamble on Archer’s fitness for the World Cup by managing his workload through the tournament.

“There is a high chance that we will take risk on a proven performer [like Archer] that has done it on the world stage,” Mott said.

“We are planning for him to be available. Obviously, a lot of things have to go his way and it will be a tight timeline but with players like that you are going to give them every opportunity to prove their fitness, and so we will keep an open mind,” he said.

“It would be a big ask for him to play every game, so we would have to target specific ones, but we are big on ball speed for India, we feel like that’s a really important asset for us to have out there and it will be good to see Mark Wood, who had such an impact in the Ashes, do the same with the white ball,” Mott added.

The World Cup kicks off on October 5 with defending Champions England facing New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in what will be a rematch of the 2019 Final.

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