Ben Stokes will end his one-day international retirement to feature for England at this year’s 50-over World Cup, according to reports.
Stokes called time on the longest white-ball format last summer, citing an “unsustainable” schedule following his appointment as captain of the Test team and amid the rise of franchise cricket.
England’s talismanic all-rounder continued to play Twenty20s and inspired World Cup success in Australia last November and is now apparently set to perform a U-turn ahead the World Cup in India during October and November.
When Stokes walked away from ODIs last July, it was viewed with the long-term in mind and to give him the best possible chance to lead the red-ball team for as long as possible.
An unbeaten half-century in November helped England beat Pakistan to be crowned IT20 world champions in Australia with white-ball head coach Matthew Mott admitting at the time he would try tempt Stokes out of 50-over retirement.
It seemed an unrealistic aim with Stokes managing a long-standing left knee issue to get through all five Ashes Tests this summer, but honest enough to admit “serious conversations” were required over a potential operation.
With England not due to play red-ball cricket now until January, Stokes was predicted to go under the knife during the coming months, but could now reverse his ODI retirement.
England selectors will meet on Tuesday and name a squad on Wednesday for September’s ODIs against New Zealand and Ireland, which will act as warm-up series for the World Cup in India before the tournament begins in October.
A provisional 18-man squad for the World Cup will also be confirmed on Wednesday, with Stokes expected to be included in a huge boost to white-ball captain Jos Buttler.
It was Buttler and Stokes who played a central role in England becoming world champions on home turf four years ago, with Stokes’ 84 not out inspiring a tied match with New Zealand in the final at Lord’s that forced a Super Over.
Further hitting from Stokes would help England set the Black Caps 16 for victory and Buttler’s run-out sealed a maiden 50-over victory for the nation.
He concluded his ODI career with 105 matches, 2,924 runs and 74 wickets.