England head coach Matthew Mott has expressed his desire to see star all-rounder Ben Stokes reversing his ODI retirement in order to strengthen their squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India.
Stokes had announced his decision to call curtains on his ODI career earlier this year, citing the difficult workload of playing in three formats as the reason behind it.
The 31-year-old is the captain of the England Test side, which has seen a change in fortunes ever since he took charge a few months back alongside coach Brendon McCullum.
But Stokes’ heroics in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 against Pakistan, where he played an unbeaten knock of 52 to guide England to their second title in the history of the tournament, once again led to calls for reversing his ODI retirement.
The England coach spoke to the reporters after England’s World Cup win in Melbourne and expressed his desire to see Stokes coming out of his ODI retirement for the sake of the team.
“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,” Mott said.
“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,” he added.
The ODI World Cup in India is less than 12 months away and there aren’t a lot of T20Is to play during this period. Mott hopes that the lack of T20Is will help him to persuade Stokes to return to the ODI fold.
“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.”
Mott also went on to praise Stokes for his all-round ability, calling him a “three-dimensional player” and “the glue” that held the team together.
“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,” Mott said.
England are already scheduled to play three ODIs in Australia, starting just three days after the T20 World Cup final. The series ends on November 22 and they will again gear up for a Test series in Pakistan, starting December 1. If Stokes decides to play in the Indian Premier League on top of that, the schedule could become pretty demanding for him.