Ben Stokes' reversal of his ODI retirement in order to compete in the 2023 World Cup in India is something that England's head coach Matthew Mott is hoping for. Stokes announced his decision to retire from 50-over cricket earlier this year, citing the challenges of juggling a hectic schedule.
Additionally, Stokes is the leader of the Test team, which has improved recently under his leadership and that of coach Brendon McCullum. However, Stokes' heroics in the T20 World Cup final on Sunday (November 13) further cemented his reputation as a player for the big stage and prompted calls for him to return to ODI cricket.
"He's a three-dimensional player and he has so much to offer,"
"In this team he was the glue - I think we have a lot of guys who can do extraordinary things but he was the player you knew that if he was in you'd win the game."
"When he spoke to me about his ODI retirement one of the first things I said was that I'd back any decision he made, but I said to him he didn't necessarily have to retire, he could just not play 50-overs for a while. And I said: 'You could always unretire.'
"I'll let him dust off today. He's his own man and he'll make his own decisions. He'll do what's right for English cricket and he always has. That was part of his decision to retire from ODI cricket. He didn't think he could give it his all and credit to him for making that decision because he's such a special commodity for English cricket. We want what's best for the whole system as well."
Since England won't be playing many T20Is in the coming months due to the World Cup being less than 12 months away, Mott is hoping that this will encourage Stokes to switch back to ODIs.
"That's his decision," he noted. "It's going to be a World Cup year and we don't play much T20 cricket for a while, but it will be up to him. The more we can get him is great. He's doing an amazing job with the Test captaincy but he is a very big cog in the wheel when he comes back to white-ball."
The timetable might be very taxing if Stokes chooses to play in the IPL just before the Ashes. Three days after the T20 World Cup final, England and Australia will play three one-day internationals (ODIs). The Test team will take the field in Pakistan for the first game of the series on December 1 although the Australian series ends on November 22.
"It's not ideal, I can't lie," Mott said of the scheduling. "We've got to enjoy this victory - they don't come around very often so there'll be no disguising the fact that we will enjoy this. We'll have a good day today, we had a great night last night. We've got to turn up and make sure we put out a great effort. For the white-ball team we get through those three games and then there's a long break, so that'll be the time to properly let our hair down and enjoy it."
When questioned about Stokes' likely return to the ODI format on Monday (November 14), England's managing director of men's cricket, Rob Key, remained circumspect.
"Nothing is forever, but who knows what will happen,"
he told Sky Sports.
"At the moment, we'll just keep thinking about trying to enjoy what we've done now and then we'll be thinking about Test cricket. What will be, will be. I don't think you ever rule anything out but at the moment, we'll just try and enjoy what we've done so far and Ben can enjoy it. I'm sure he's enjoying it as much as he possibly can."
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