England all-rounder Ben Stokes admitted that he knew he would return from his ODI retirement and play the ongoing series against New Zealand during the 2023 Ashes series as well. He also said that he kept it a secret to put the media “off the radar”. When reporters asked him about a possible return for the 2023 World Cup during that series in July, he simply said that he was retired with a straight face as well. He also added that he wanted to use the time after the Ashes to manage his knee injury which made it difficult for him as well.
Now, after scoring a record-breaking 182 (124) in the third ODI since his return at the Oval, he said: “Obviously I’ve been asked a lot about my knee over a long period of time, so I just said that to leave it. I knew that I’d be playing in these games and potentially in the World Cup then when I said that, but it was just the easiest thing to say that and put you [the media] off the radar.”
He also said that he won’t have to bowl anymore thought also helped him. However, Stokes’s century was the record-highest individual score for an England player as well. He also played as a specialist batter at No. 4 and smashed 15 fours and nine sixes in the innings and also helped England put up 368 in the first innings and eventually won by 181 runs against New Zealand as well.
Ben Stokes further added, “Today was good for me personally, just to get familiarity again with how 50-over cricket goes. We started off and lost a few quick wickets, then wanted to go out and put them under a bit of pressure. There were a couple of times I had to check myself because I looked up and there were still 23-24 overs left – that’s how one-day cricket can go.”
However, in a recent conversation with BBC Sport, Ben Stokes shared that there was no pressure on him about his ODI return and opened up that he was eager to participate in another World Cup as well.
“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,” Ben Stokes concluded.