Big boost to England as Stokes comes out of ODI retirement

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes starred in England's ICC World Cup triumph in 2019. File photo: AFP/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

England's talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes has reversed his decision to retire from One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and was included in the squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand, the country's cricket board said on Wednesday.

Stokes retired from ODIs last July, two months after being named England's Test captain, and the reversal opens the door for him to play in their ICC World Cup title defence in India.

"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.

He also hit a match-winning unbeaten 52 to lead England to the Twenty20 World Cup title last year, with victory over Pakistan in the final in Melbourne.

There are still concerns about Stokes' chronic left knee injury, which flared up this year. He did not bowl in the last three Ashes Tests in July as England overturned a 2-0 deficit against Australia to level the series 2-2.

White-ball coach Matthew Mott had said earlier that Stokes would be welcomed back into the ODI squad with open arms.

Stokes has played 105 ODIs since his debut against Ireland in 2011, scoring 2,924 runs, including three centuries, at an average of 38.98 and a strike rate of 95. He also has 74 wickets and is one of the sharpest fielders in the side.

Uncapped Surrey pace bowler Gus Atkinson was also called up to the 15-man ODI squad for the New Zealand series, while Atkinson, Josh Tongue and John Turner were called up to the T20I squad for the first time.

England will play four T20s against New Zealand starting on 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.

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