Ben Stokes U-turns on ODI retirement ahead of World Cup

Star all-rounder back in England team for series against New Zealand

England's Ben Stokes bats (R) watched by New Zealand's Tom Latham during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between New Zealand and England at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on February 28, 2018.  / AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL BRADLEY
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England's star all-rounder Ben Stokes has reversed his decision to retire from ODIs and was included in the squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand, reinforcing an already strong team.

Stokes retired from ODIs last July, two months after being named England's Test captain, and had insisted his decision was final.

But he has been lured out of ODI retirement, just like Moeen Ali was for the Ashes Test series. Stokes will now be a central figure in England's plans as they look to defend their 50-overs World Cup crown in India in October and November.

“I am certain that every fan will enjoy seeing [Stokes] back in an England ODI shirt again,” national selector Luke Wright said in a statement.

Stokes, 32, was player of the match in the 2019 World Cup final on home soil, when he hit an unbeaten 84 as England beat New Zealand in a dramatic super over at Lord's.

He also hit a match-winning unbeaten 52 to lead England to the T20 World Cup title last year, with victory over Pakistan in the final in Melbourne.

However, Stokes could have a specialist batting role after answering a plea from white-ball counterpart Jos Buttler.

England take on New Zealand in four tune-up ODIs next month and Stokes has been included in a 15-strong squad that is likely to resemble the touring party for the World Cup in October and November.

Selector Wright added: “Any series against New Zealand is closely fought and will provide us with an ideal opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the world.

“The return of Ben Stokes only adds to that quality with his match-winning ability and leadership.”

Dawid Malan – who made ODI tons in Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh over the winter – keeps his spot ahead of Harry Brook, with the Yorkshireman seemingly the batter to make way for Stokes' return.

England also selected young Surrey quick Gus Atkinson.

The 25-year-old started the domestic season outside Surrey's XI but he has impressed in all formats in recent months, especially in The Hundred where he was clocked bowling at 95mph for Oval Invincibles.

England will play four T20s against New Zealand starting August 30, followed by a four-match ODI series from September 8-15

They face New Zealand in their World Cup opener on October 5 in Ahmedabad.

England T20 squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Rehan Ahmed, Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Josh Tongue, John Turner, Luke Wood.

England ODI squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes

Updated: August 16, 2023, 9:58 AM