India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin reacted to reports in the British media about England Test captain Ben Stokes‘ possible U-Turn on ODI retirement to play the World Cup in India later this year. The reports come a day after England’s white-ball coach Matthew Mott said Jos Buttler will play a leading role in convincing Stokes to come out of retirement. “Jos will probably lead the way on that communication, but Ben’s pretty straight with all of us. We will see if he’s keen,” Mott told the Mail on Sunday newspaper in an interview. “There has not been a clear direction on what he’s going to do yet, but we are still hopeful. I’ve always said his bowling would be a bonus, but just look at what he brings with the bat, even in the field.”
Reacting to this, Ashwin said Buttler, his teammate at the Rajasthan Royals, is a man of few words and he will try his best to convince Stokes to come out of retirement and play the World Cup. “They will try their best to convince Ben Stokes to come out of retirement and play the ODI World Cup and it seems that responsibility has been given to Jos Buttler. It seems Buttler’s duty is to watch Ben Stokes, according to coach Matthew Mott. So Buttler is keeping an eye on Ben Stokes. Now it’s Buttler’s job to make Stokes available for the World Cup. And Buttler is not a man of many words. He hardly speaks. So my guess is that he will go to Ben Stokes and say, ‘Dude please join us. It will be really nice if you come out of retirement.’ Buttler won’t be outspoken. He will try his best,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.
According to British daily ‘The Telegraph’, Stokes, who led England’s sensational comeback in the Ashes against Australia after being 0-2 down, will give next year’s IPL a miss if plays the ODI World Cup. The reason why Stokes could give his ₹16 crore annual IPL deal with CSK a miss, is the five-Test series against India that will start on January 25 and end on March 11.
If Stokes plays two months of IPL till the end of May, then he would be spending close to five months in India, which might not be feasible for him. At some point, he is expected to undergo knee surgery and the IPL window seems the best time considering he can return to competitive cricket and continue leading England in years to come.
Ashwin reminded that Stokes announced his ODI retirement in July last year mainly due to workload management. “Will Stokes come out of retirement? The main reason why he retired from ODIs is workload management. He said he can’t keep playing all the time, he has issues with his knee. That was the whole point of retiring from one format. But England know how crucial he will be for them in the World Cup,” he said.
Stokes was instrumental in England’s last two world titles – in the 2019 ODI World Cup and 2022 T20 World Cup. And Buttler is looking for inspiration, then he can look at Stokes himself. The England Test captain convinced all-rounder Moeen Ali to come out of retirement and play the Ashes after England’s lead spinner Jack Leach was ruled out with an injury.
England start their campaign on October 5 in Ahmedabad against New Zealand.