Former England captain Michael Atherton feels that the “lure” of another World Cup trophy was just too strong for Ben Stokes to turn down the opportunity and hence he made a u-turn on his ODI retirement.
Ben Stokes has come out of his retirement in ODI cricket, which he had taken last year citing it being “unsustainable” physically and mentally to play all three formats, just a few months after being appointed the Test skipper.
Ben Stokes was the Man of the Match in the 2019 World Cup final
Speaking with Sky Sports on the sidelines of a Hundred game on Wednesday, former batsman Michael Atherton said that Stokes has featured in only one ODI World Cup in his career – he was dropped from the 2015 WC – and that the lure of another trophy, having won one in 2019, was too big for him to ignore anymore.
“Great news for England and their fans who’ll be delighted to see such a great cricketer comeback. He retired last July citing an unsustainable schedule, issues with his knee and wanting to focus on his role as Test captain. But the lure of the World Cup is just too strong,” Atherton said.
“And he missed the 2015 edition so a great cricketer like him comes to the end of his career and thinks I’ve only played in one World cup, the temptation was just too strong. Once he made himself available, the selectors had to pick him as he makes any team better.
White-ball coach Matthew Mott and selector Luke Wright also made it clear that because of Ben Stokes’ knee injury issue, he’s being mainly selected as a batsman, for his experience and big-match pedigree. He’s unlikely to bowl much in the tournament, and will undergo surgery after next year’s Test series in India, which would force him to miss out on the IPL 2024.
“They’ve picked him as a batter so clearly there’s concerns about his bowling but they’ve not picked him as a bowler. They made that pretty clear when Luke Wright stated that in his press conference after the squad announcement,” added Atherton.
Ben Stokes had a phenomenal time in the 2019 World Cup at home, scoring 465 runs at an average of 66 with 5 fifties and snapping up 7 wickets also.
England will kick-start their title defence on October 5, against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.