England hopeful of convincing Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement for World Cup defence

England hopeful of convincing Ben Stokes out of ODI retirement for World Cup defence

Matthew Mott, England’s white-ball coach, has said he is “still hopeful” that Ben Stokes can be convinced out of his retirement from ODIs in time for England’s World Cup defence in October-November.

Stokes, England’s Test captain and the Player of the Match in the 2019 World Cup final, quit ODIs last year citing an unsustainable schedule. He has been on holiday with his family since the end of the Ashes, while most of his England team-mates have been playing in the Hundred instead.

Stokes has been battling a chronic left-knee injury which has flared up this year and limited his ability to bowl. He said before the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval that he would have “some serious conversations with medics” during the six-month break before England’s next Test against India in January.

England are due to pick a preliminary squad for the World Cup this week and will also select squads for bilateral white-ball series against New Zealand and Ireland. Mott said that Jos Buttler, England’s white-ball captain, would be in touch with Stokes to “see if he’s keen” to reverse his retirement.

“Jos will probably lead the way on that communication, but Ben’s pretty straight with all of us. We will see if he’s keen,” Mott told the Mail on Sunday newspaper in an interview.

“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.

“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 added that there was “a high chance” that Jofra Archer will be named in England’s provisional World Cup squad, despite missing the entire home summer to date through an elbow stress fracture.

“There is a high chance that we will take a risk on a proven performer that has done it on the world stage,” Mott said in the same interview. “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.”

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