England white-ball captain Jos Buttler has confirmed that they are planning for the 50-over World Cup to be held later in this year without Test captain Ben Stokes, the hero of his country’s 2019 ODI World Cup win.
One of England’s best all-rounders in recent times, Stokes had retired from the 50-over format last year over concerns about his gruelling schedule. But this week was named ICC Test Cricketer of the Year after helping the Test team revive its fortunes with wins over New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan and had also starred in his country’s T20 World Cup win, hitting 52 not out in the final as England edged to a thrilling win against Pakistan.
England’s white-ball coach Matthew Mott has recently revealed he is still hopeful that he would like the 31-year-old Stokes to be part of the England team when it defends it tries to defend its 50-overs World Cup title in October-November this year.
“The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is red-ball cricket as the captain,” he said, adding “we leave the door open.”
However, when asked about this on the eve of the three-match ODI series against South Africa on Friday, Buttler said at the moment they are planning without Stokes’s involvement.
“If he wants to change his decision, of course, he’d be welcomed back with open arms but we are very much at the moment planning as if he won’t be available,” Buttler was quoted as saying in a report by mirror.co.uk.
Buttler is excited about the possibility of having Jofra Archer back as the bowler is currently taking part in the SA20. Though Buttler was thrilled by the prospect of Archer’s return but realised that there are still concerns about the bowler’s fitness.
“He’s only just coming back to competitive cricket, this will be his first international game in a long time, and there’s always going to be a level of expectation on Jofra because we all know what he’s capable of. But I’m sure he’s just going to get better and better as he comes back,” Buttler said.