Stokes could have amazing World Cup – Pope

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes was man of the match as England won the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s

Ben Stokes could have an “amazing” World Cup if he comes of out one-day international retirement, according to England Test team-mate Ollie Pope.

Reports have suggested Stokes is considering making himself available for England’s defence of the World Cup in India in October and November.

Stokes was man of the match when they won the final in 2019, but retired from ODIs last summer.

“Any team that has Ben Stokes in it is going to be a better team,” said Pope.

England are set to name a squad on Wednesday for the white-ball series against New Zealand and Ireland in August and September.

The selectors are meeting on Tuesday and could also choose a provisional World Cup squad.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday,external-link England limited-overs coach Matthew Mott said they would try to persuade Stokes out of retirement and also take a chance on pace bowler Jofra Archer, whose career has been dogged by injuries since he bowled the super over in the dramatic 2019 final defeat of New Zealand.

England Test captain Stokes retired from ODIs in July of last year, saying that playing three formats was unsustainable. He continued to play T20s for England, starring in the final as they won the World Cup in November.

Before the final Ashes Test in July, he ruled out making a return for the 50-over World Cup, saying he would use a gap in England’s Test schedule to address a long-term left-knee problem, which has severely reduced the amount he is able to bowl.

However, newspaper reports on Monday said all-rounder Stokes, 32, would make himself available for the World Cup and instead miss next year’s Indian Premier League.

“Fingers crossed, if all these rumours are true, then I’m sure he’ll have an amazing tournament,” Test vice-captain Pope told Sky Sports.

“He’s got his knee. It’s no secret that he’s been trying to manage that, but it’s great that he feels he’s in a place that he can have a big contribution in a tournament like the World Cup.”

If Stokes does go to the World Cup, it may be primarily as a specialist batter. England would then have to find a way to accommodate him in a line-up full of batting talent.

“He will be chatting with Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott about managing his workload during the World Cup,” added Pope.

“He initially retired from this format, but with the way the schedule has gone, there is no Test cricket until the end of January, so it gives him a chance to recover.

“It’s a World Cup, another opportunity to write history in the game. Obviously his job as Test captain is massive, but if he feels like he can contribute to another England team winning a World Cup, then he’ll have a 100% backing from everyone.”

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