England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Thursday, September 14, admitted that he knew he would come back from ODI retirement and play the ongoing series against New Zealand during the 2023 Ashes series. He said he kept it a secret to keep it “off the radar” of the media. When reporters asked the England Test captain during that series in July about a possible return for the 2023 World Cup, he simply said he was ready to retire with a straight face. He also said that he wanted to use the time off after the Ashes to deal with his knee injury as the long-standing problem had made it difficult for him to continue bowling.
Now, after scoring a record-breaking 182 (124) in the third ODI on his return to the Oval, he said:
“Obviously I’ve been asked a lot about my knee over a long period of time, so I just said that to leave it. I knew that I’d be playing in these games and potentially in the World Cup then when I said that, but it was just the easiest thing to say that and put you [the media] off the radar.”
He also said that he was helped by the clarity that he would no longer have to bowl. Stokes’ century was the highest individual score recorded by an English player. He played as a specialist batsman at number 4 and hit 15 fours and nine sixes in the innings. In the third ODI against New Zealand, the innings started by batting first. England scored 368 runs in the first innings and eventually won by 181 runs.
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Ben Stokes Needs To Get Reacquainted With 50-Over Cricket
Ben Stokes also spoke about how it took him some time to become familiar with the format and how much time was there for the batsmen as well. He said:
“Today was good for me personally, just to get familiarity again with how 50-over cricket goes. We started off and lost a few quick wickets, then wanted to go out and put them under a bit of pressure. There were a couple of times I had to check myself because I looked up and there were still 23-24 overs left – that’s how one-day cricket can go.”
England and New Zealand will play the fourth and final ODI on September 15. The English are currently leading the series 2-1.