England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler lauded “superstar” Ben Stokes following his decision to come out of ODI retirement. The England Test captain announced his retirement from 50-over cricket last summer due to stress and a knee injury. England will play the Black Caps in four T20s before the same number of ODIs begin in Cardiff next month, and Buttler said he was “delighted” to have Stokes back.
“It’s excellent news on all fronts, it’s great for cricket to have a superstar like Ben Stokes in a World Cup,” Buttler was quoted as saying by Skysports.
“You want to see those players in those major showpiece events so it’s fantastic that he’s made himself available. When a player of that calibre is available again, it’s a no-brainer really that you want them back in your team,” the England captain said.
“You look at the impact he has in every game he plays really, but especially in the last couple of World Cups, he’s the man in the middle with the crucial moment. We’re delighted to have him back, it’s not just the cricket but everything else he brings to the group,” he added.
Stokes was instrumental in England’s 50-over World Cup victory in 2019, striking an undefeated 84 in the final against New Zealand before playing in the Super Over alongside Buttler.
He will return to the ODI squad as a specialist batter, according to Buttler, who added that Stokes made his decision after the Ashes series concluded.
“Ben and I caught up during the IPL, had some good conversations about what he wanted to achieve in the year, so him coming to me and saying that the Ashes is his main priority, but if he could come through that physically he’d like to be considered for the World Cup,” he said.
“So I just left it at that and said you let me know after the Ashes how you’re feeling. We spoke after that, he said he’d be available as a batter and that was enough for me to just say, ‘brilliant, can’t wait to have you back’,” Buttler added.
The T20I series will begin at Riverside Ground in Durham on Wednesday. The four-game T20I series will be followed by an ODI series, also consisting of four matches.
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