ENGLAND are hoping to lure Ben Stokes out of retirement to defend the Cricket World Cup – with Jofra Archer also eyed for a shock comeback.
The Test captain, 32, retired from one-day internationals last summer as a way of managing his workload amid his persistent knee problems.
Jos Buttler hopes to convince Ben Stokes to bat for England at the upcoming World CupCredit: AP
He barely bowled in the recent Ashes series and even considered surgery during the break in Test cricket to be fit with the ball for the five-Test winter tour of India.
But England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler has launched a ploy to get inspirational Stokes to link up with the ODI team for the World Cup.
Stokes was a crucial figure in the dramatic 50-over tournament victory on home soil in 2019, including after the Super Over against New Zealand in the final.
And now skipper Buttler has called his pal to see if he would make a comeback as a special batter in India this autumn – just weeks after Stokes sent Moeen Ali an SOS text for the Ashes.
England T20 and ODI coach Matthew Mott told the Mail on Sunday: “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.
“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.
“Watching him throughout the whole Ashes series, he had such a great presence.
“He’s done it for years when it comes to performing in one-day cricket and so he’s an invaluable commodity.”
Stokes, who starred as England won the T20 World Cup last year, was the talisman in the memorable 2019 World Cup.
He kickstarted the tournament with an outrageous catch against South Africa and delivered four knocks in the 80s with the bat.
That included his unbeaten 84 as he was named man of the match against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Archer famously bowled the Super Over that day and took 20 wickets overall.
However, his career has been on pause in recent years due to a series of elbow issues.
‘TAKE A RISK’
The fast bowler suffered another stress fracture, forcing him to miss all action in England this summer – including the Ashes.
He did appear briefly in the Indian Premier League but is now back in the nets with Sussex.
But Mott confirmed Archer could also be shoehorned into the 18-man squad, which will be picked on Tuesday.
He added: “There is a high chance that we will take a risk on a proven performer that has done it on the world stage.
“We are planning for him to be available. Obviously, a lot of things have to go his way and it will be a tight timeline but with players like that you are going to give them every opportunity to prove their fitness.
“It would be a big ask for him to play every game, so we would have to target specific ones, but we are big on ball speed for India, we feel like that’s a really important asset for us to have out there.
“It will be good to see Mark Wood, who had such an impact in the Ashes, do the same with the white ball.”
England kick off the 2023 World Cup on October 5 with a repeat of that incredible finale by taking on New Zealand in the tournament’s opening match in the massive 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
World Cup-winner Jofra Archer could also make a comeback for EnglandCredit: Getty – Contributor
Stokes bowled very few overs in the recent Ashes seriesCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun