In a dramatic reversal of his ODI retirement decision, England's versatile all-rounder, Ben Stokes, has made a stunning comeback to international cricket, just over a year after stepping back from the format.
Citing workload concerns, Stokes had bid farewell to ODI cricket in August 2022.
However, he has now had a change of heart, persuaded by the England team management.
Ben Stokes could be a nightmare for opposition in World Cup 2023
Stokes' comeback has sent ripples of excitement through the cricketing world, drawing admiration from his teammates and rivals alike.
One of his closest friends and England batter extraordinaire, Joe Root, showered him with accolades, dubbing him the finest cricketer ever produced by England.
Root's words echoed a sentiment felt across the cricketing fraternity, as other international teams are now left pondering the consequences of Stokes' return.
Root, speaking to ESPNcricinfo, made it clear that he played no part in Stokes' decision to reverse his retirement.
He emphasized the awe-inspiring impact that Stokes can have on the game, stating, “You know every other international team are looking thinking, ‘Damn, I thought we got rid of him!' At the same time, it fills the rest of the squad with confidence, knowing you've got a proven match-winner who will always seek out those big moments.”
Stokes bounced back after the heartbreak of 2016 T20 World Cup final
Stokes' reputation as a big-match player is well-earned, having already played pivotal roles in three World Cup finals.
Despite the heartbreak of the 2016 final against West Indies in Kolkata, Stokes bounced back to lead England to glorious triumphs in the 2019 ODI World Cup and the 2022 T20 World Cup finals.
Root marveled at Stokes' ability to thrive under pressure, saying, “Even the one we lost against West Indies in 2016, he still took on the big moment – he wanted that final over.” Root's admiration for Stokes reached its pinnacle as he declared him “the best player we've ever produced as a country.”
As Ben Stokes prepares to don the England jersey once more, he is set to feature in white-ball encounters against New Zealand and Ireland.
These matches will serve as crucial warm-up opportunities as he gears up for the upcoming ODI World Cup, where fans worldwide eagerly anticipate his return. Stokes' comeback is not just a return; it's a resurgence, a reaffirmation of his status as one of cricket's true legends.