Pramod Ananth
15 Nov 2022 | 05:01 AM

Matthew Mott suggests Ben Stokes to 'unretire' from ODIs

The England all-rounder decided to give up ODIs as he felt it was "unsustainable" to continue playing all three formats

Ben Stokes has played starring roles in two World Cup finals to forever etch his name in English folklore. He scored an unbeaten 84 in 2019 at Lord's to drag the match into the Super Over, where he scored another eight. More recently, he scored a fifty as England won their second T20 World Cup in Melbourne.

Stokes had retired from One-Day Internationals (ODI) earlier this year as he felt playing all formats was "unsustainable". more so after he was appointed England's Test captain. England white-ball coach Matthew Mott hopes Stokes will "unretire" from ODIs after the memorable night at MCG and potentially play the 50-over World Cup in India next year.

England also do not play many T20Is over the next 12 months anyway. "When he spoke to me about his ODI retirement one of the first things I said was that I'd back any decision he made," Mott said. 

"But I said to him he didn't necessarily have to retire - he could just not play 50-overs for a while.

"I did say you could always unretire. That's his decision. It's going to be a World Cup year and we don't play much T20 cricket for a while but it will be a decision that's up to him.

"The more we can get him is great. He's doing an amazing job with the Test captaincy but he is a very big cog in the wheel when he comes back to white-ball."

While announcing his ODI retirement said that his body did not allow him to give it his 100% across formats and did not want to block the place of another player. "The England shirt deserves nothing less from anyone who wears it," he said.

One can understand Stokes' decision given their packed calendar, right after the World Cup. They are due to play an three-match ODI series against Australia, starting November 17, just four days after they won the T20 World Cup, which has led to Moeen Ali criticise the horrible scheduling. Mott has also backed his player saying that it is not an ideal situation to be in.

England are also due to travel to Pakistan for a Test series, starting December 1. "He's a three-dimensional player and he has so much to offer," Mott added. 

"In this team he was the glue - I think we have a lot of guys who can do extraordinary things but he was the player you knew that if he was in you'd win the game.

"I'll let him dust off today. He's his own man and he'll make his own decisions. He'll do what's right for English cricket and he always has.

"That was part of his decision to retire from ODI cricket. He didn't think he could give it his all and credit to him for making that decision because he's such a special commodity for English cricket. We want what's best for the whole system as well."

Rob Key, the managing director of England cricket stayed mum over Stokes' possible return to the 50-over fold.  "Nothing is forever, but who knows what will happen," he said. 

"At the moment, we'll just keep thinking about trying to enjoy what we've done now and then we'll be thinking about Test cricket.

"Ben Stokes will be thinking about Test cricket and I don't want him to have to worry about anything else apart from what's in front of him right now, which is the Test series in Pakistan; and then you've got New Zealand and then Australia after that. You don't have to worry about anything else.

"What will be, will be. I don't think you ever rule anything out but at the moment, we'll just try and enjoy what we've done so far and Ben can enjoy it. I'm sure he's enjoying it as much as he possibly can."

Just days before the T20 World Cup, in-form batter Jonny Bairstow had to pull out due to a freak golf course accident, while fast bowler Reece Topley was ruled out after suffering an ankle injury after arriving in Australia.

However, the duo have played their part in helping this England side build towards the marquee event, which is something Mott acknowledged. "Reece Topley was a big part of our preparation for here," Mott said. 

"I was absolutely gutted for him, such an innocuous injury. Seeing him leave our group was hard. I must admit he was one of the first blokes I thought of - and Jonny as well."

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