Knew I would be playing World Cup: Ben Stokes on reversing his ODI retirement after record knock vs New Zealand

Written by Abhishek Patil

Ben Stokes has revealed that he was always planning to reverse his decision to retire from ODI cricket and return in time for this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, after a record-breaking innings against New Zealand on Wednesday.

Stokes retired from one-day international cricket last year and even told reporters at the end of this year’s Ashes series that he had no plans to reverse his decision and return to action for the World Cup, which begins in India next month.

However, Stokes was named to England’s preliminary squad for their World Cup defense last month, and he warmed up for that event by making a brilliant 182 from just 124 deliveries in his side’s thrashing of New Zealand at The Oval on Wednesday.

“Obviously I’ve been asked a lot about my knee over a long period of time, so I just said that to leave it,” Stokes said post-match in relation to his comments at the conclusion of the Ashes.

“I knew that I’d be playing in these games and potentially in the World Cup then when I said that, but it was just the easiest thing to say that and put you (the media) off the radar.”

Stokes hit 15 fours and nine sixes while playing as a specialist batter, breaking Jason Roy’s record of 180 against Australia in 2018 to become England’s highest individual scorer in ODI cricket.No.3 Consistent Dawid Malan briefly stole the show with an excellent knock of 96 in a partnership of 199 with Stokes, but it was the England Test captain’s record-breaking innings – in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup Final – that stood out on a dominant day for the hosts.

“I didn’t really know (about the record) until the bloke on the tannoy (loudspeaker) announced it – then I got out next ball,” Stokes noted.

Stokes stated that being in the team as a specialist batter gave him more clarity about his role in the team and allowed him to bat with more freedom at the crease.”This is the first time that I’ve been clear in my mind that that’s the one thing I can focus on,” Stokes said.

“I think over the last 18 months, every day has been, ‘will I bowl, will I not bowl?’ Now, I know that I can just focus on that that’s my thing for the team now. Having that clarity in my head contributes to that.”I’d prefer not to go in that early because I want to see the other lads at the top do well. I don’t think I’ve necessarily changed my approach in one-day cricket from all the years I spent at No. 5 or 6â€æ I still think that batting at No. 4, I’ll go out with the exact same approach I had at No. 5.”

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Abhishek Patil