Nasser Hussain feels that England desperately missed the services of Ben Stokes in the opening match of the World Cup 2023 on Thursday, October 5.
The match was marked by the notable absence of England’s star player, Ben Stokes. Stokes, who had previously announced his retirement from ODI cricket, had returned to the England team for the World Cup. He was a significant contributor to the team, having been England’s second-highest run-getter in the ODI series against New Zealand ahead of the World Cup, scoring 235 runs, including a fine 182.
Unfortunately, Stokes suffered a niggle in his hip ahead of the opening fixture. The England cricket team, not wanting to risk their talisman so early in the tournament, decided to rest him for the first game. This decision was made despite the fact that Stokes’ absence was a significant blow to England. Harry Brook replaced Stokes in the playing XI for the first match.
After restricting England to 282, which was considered below-par by many, New Zealand would win the match by nine wickets as Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra smashed hundreds and put the bowlers to the sword.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Hussain said that England missed the nous of Stokes to get them to a good score. The former England captain further commented that he is hoping England have got one bad performance out of their way early on.
“England missed the nous of Ben Stokes to get them above par and they will just have to be better from now on. The one good thing is that perhaps they have got their bad performance out of the way early – if they did this in the semi-finals it would be all over,” said Hussain.
Hussain said that England cannot afford to have anymore slip-ups if they want to secure a spot in top four.
“There are a lot of good teams in this tournament and if England are to get into the top four they cannot afford much more slip-ups. England were simply not at the races. It was one of those days when they were well below par and the opposition were excellent. It is rare for an England white-ball side to be outclassed these days but that was the case yesterday,” said Hussain.