England all-rounder Ben Stokes has stated that no one pressured him to reverse his one-day international retirement before the upcoming 2023 World Cup. He shared telling skipper Jos Buttler that he wouldn’t bowl in the tournament and play as a specialist batter only. However, Stokes had announced his ODI retirement in July 2022 via his social media, giving an ‘unsustainable schedule’ as well. But he reversed his decision and has been added to the squad for the upcoming four-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand on Friday, Stokes said, “The nice thing was there wasn’t any pressure put on me to make a decision quickly. Having a chance to play in another World Cup is great, but going there as world champions and trying to retain it is something that was quite appealing to me. I had to tell Jos that if you want to make that decision and pick me you have to make that decision on the basis of me not bowling a ball out there. I was very clear with where I’m at with my body and what I felt I can offer the team. It was nice to know from Jos that he didn’t think to long that, even if I am just there as a batter, he’d pick me.”
However, in recent interviews, Jos Buttler and Joe Root stated that they had nothing to do with Stokes returning to ODIs, given he isn’t a player who can be easily persuaded as well. At the same time, they also shared that his decision has been a massive boost for them as well. Meanwhile, head coach Matthew Mott gave the hint at Harry Brook’s inclusion in the 2023 World Cup squad as well.
“If there is a competition for places and there is pressure on individuals to perform to get their spot, that’s a sign you’re in a very, very good team. You don’t want selections to be easy, because then you know your strength in depth isn’t as strong as other teams. It’s a healthy place to be in as a team when everyone has a little bit of pressure to perform before the final World Cup squad gets announced,” Ben Stokes concluded.