England Test captain Ben Stokes said he understands why players reject England contracts in order to play in lucrative T20 tournaments. Notably, England fast bowler Mark Wood told the Daily Telegraph that he had yet to decide whether he would accept a central contract, citing the financial benefits of playing in the UAE T20 League.
Earlier this year, star opener Jason Roy opted out of his England contract to play in Major League Cricket (MLC). Stokes said he understood their reluctance to commit to England, telling reporters: “We know the whole landscape of cricket is changing and that is great for the individuals who are still within the game and great for those who are coming through.
“If a person makes a decision because they think it’s the best for themselves, the future and security of their families, then it’s very hard to disagree with that,” Stokes added, speaking ahead of England’s first one-day international against New Zealand in Cardiff on Friday.
“The more opportunities that come, the more people are going to be attracted to the sport and try to make a career out of it. Everyone is at a different point in their life, not just their career, where other things will have to be thought about.”
Stokes has bowled sparingly in recent months due to a nagging knee injury and is set to play as a specialist batter in India’s 50-over World Cup, which runs from October 5 to November 19.
“I’ve been having some good conversations with some specialists. There is a plan in place,” Stokes said.
“It’s nice knowing after the World Cup we’ve got something, a really good plan we can do and we can stick to. I want to be playing next summer as a genuine all-rounder. This winter is all about playing this World Cup, then getting this knee sorted.”
With Stokes back in the ODI squad after reversing his retirement from the format, England has dropped Harry Brook from the provisional 15-man World Cup squad.
Brook, 24, has been called up to England’s squad for the four-match One-Day International series against New Zealand, and Stokes has backed the promising batter to perform well.
“Everyone is aware of the talent he possesses and how good he is,” Stokes said.
“He is going to be around every England squad for the next five to 10 years. I’m sure a lot of final decisions (for the World Cup squad) will be made around the form the lads have shown in the series.”