In a surprising move this August, Ben Stokes rescinded his ODI retirement decision. Initially, the stalwart had cited the intense workload from all three formats as his reason for stepping down. However, a mere year later, the England team management succeeded in reversing his call. This reintroduction is a testament to Stokes’ invaluable presence in the team.
Joe Root, England’s proficient batter, and Stokes’ close ally showered him with praise. Terming Stokes as England’s finest talent, Root hinted at the anxiety other teams might be feeling. Yet, he clarified that he had no role in persuading Stokes to re-enter the international arena.
Root, in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, made a light-hearted but potent statement. He quipped that rival teams might be lamenting, “Damn, I thought we got rid of him!” Such remarks underscore Stokes’ intimidation he casts on competitors. Moreover, it showcases the bolstered confidence within the English squad, now that their match-winning all-rounder is back.
Ben Stokes’ U-Turn on ODI Retirement: A Boost for England
“You know every other international team are looking thinking, ‘Damn, I thought we got rid of him!’ At the same time, it fills the rest of the squad with confidence, knowing you’ve got a proven match-winner who will always seek out those big moments,” Root told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.
The three World Cup Finals featuring Stokes remain etched in cricketing history. The 2016 debacle against the West Indies witnessed a resilient Stokes. Despite that setback, he played pivotal roles in securing England’s triumphs in the 2019 ODI World Cup and the 2022 T20 World Cup. Such performances epitomize Stokes’ penchant for significant stages.
Root eloquently summed up Stokes’ monumental journey. Recalling the World Cup victories, Root acknowledged Stokes’ undying spirit. He emphasized how Stokes owned the tense moments, even in the face of potential defeat, like in the 2016 final against the West Indies. Rising from such adversities and delivering match-winning innings showcases Stokes’ legendary stature. Root even went on to declare him the best player England has ever produced.
“You look at the two World Cup finals we won, and he won for us. Even the one we lost against West Indies in 2016, he still took on the big moment – he wanted that final over. To be able to come back from that in the manner that he has and deliver some of the things he has done in an England shirt is a testament to what a legend he is in the game. Probably, I think, the best player we’ve ever produced as a country,” he further added.
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Stokes’ future appears bright and promising. He’s slated to play white-ball games against New Zealand and Ireland. These matches will serve as his groundwork for the forthcoming ODI World Cup. Given his track record, Stokes is likely to leave an indelible mark on these encounters.
Stokes’ return to the ODI realm is a significant boost for England. His unmatched prowess, coupled with his big-game temperament, ensures that England remains a formidable opponent. Opponents, beware! England’s lion-hearted all-rounder is back, and he’s hungrier than ever.