Why England need Ben Stokes to play the World Cup 

Let’s admit it, England have not played like world champions since Ben Stokes last took part in an ODI. In 11 matches, England have won four matches, losing six while one match in South Africa did not produce a result.

They lost to Australia 3-0 just after winning the T20 World Cup after which they faced a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. It goes without saying that Jos Buttler has struggled as the England ODI skipper.

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Stokes has been England’s messiah on several instances, including the 2019 World Cup final, the iconic Headingley Test, and the final of the T20 World Cup 2022.

Last month, the southpaw almost pulled off an improbable victory for England in the Ashes Test against Australia.

Ben Stokes – A proven performer  

It does not come as a surprise that England white-ball coach Matthew Mott wants the all-rounder for the World Cup 2023, which is less than two months away.

“Jos will probably lead the way on that communication, but Ben's pretty straight with all of us. We will see if he is keen,” Mott told the Mail in an interview.

“There is a high chance that we will take a risk on a proven performer that has done it on the world stage,” Mott added.

Ben Stokes
Photo by Icon sport

Incredible record in India

Stokes’s record in ODIs on Indian soil has been prolific. In six matches, he has scored 255 runs at an average of 51, much higher than his career average of 38.98. Back on March 26, 2021, Stokes smashed his way to scoring 99 off 52 balls against India with four fours and 10 sixes in an ODI at the MCA Stadium in Pune.

Stokes has also picked up nine wickets in India with a couple of three-wicket hauls to his name. With experience of playing in the sub-continent, Stokes can do wonders if picked in the England team for the World Cup.

Even more incredible in World Cups

Ben Stokes is a player for big occasions and it is evident from his numbers in World Cups. In 11 matches, the veteran has piled up 465 runs at an average of 66.42 with a top score of 89 against South Africa at the Kennington Oval in London.

In the 2019 edition of the mega event, Stokes got four scores of 80 plus and a 79. Whenever England found themselves in a bit of strife, the left-hander absorbed all the pressure and eventually made sure that his team lifted the 50-over World Cup for the first time.

England could easily have lost the final to New Zealand had Stokes not chipped in with his unbeaten and timely 84 at the Lord’s.

Quite rightly, Mott, Buttler and England are hell-bent on bringing Stokes out of retirement for the World Cup.

Stokes did not bowl a whole lot in Ashes 2023, but it did not undermine his value in the team by any stretch of the imagination.

Even if Ben Stokes does not bowl regularly, he can still be an asset to the England ODI team in their World Cup defence. For now, it remains to be seen if the England team management can work some magic and bring back Stokes in ODIs, maybe for one last time.



Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India