ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Ben Stokes to decide ODI future after knee surgery

Ben Stokes says he will decide whether to re-enter ODI retirement after undergoing knee surgery, in a post-script to England’s disappointing World Cup campaign.

Stokes’ 84 from 76 balls helped England to a 93-run victory against Pakistan, which came too late for the 2019 champions to salvage much from their campaign, other than qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy, which had been in jeopardy amid six defeats from their nine games. This victory at Eden Gardens followed just two other wins, against Bangladesh and Netherlands.

Asked after the match whether he would like to add his experience to England’s rebuild in the 50-over format, Stokes told Sky Sports: “It goes back to my initial reason for stepping away from this format, [it] was just through workload.

“I’m Test captain, got a lot of stuff coming up, there’s a lot of stuff that I want to do with that Test team and that’ll be a decision that probably I’ll have to think about quite hard. But who knows where everything is? I’ve a bit of a clean-out coming up so you never know, the body might be in a lot better position than it was in the last 18 months.”

Stokes, who reversed his one-day retirement to take part in the World Cup, will undergo surgery on his left knee once he returns home. He was hopeful of being fit to tour India with England’s Test side in January.

“I should do,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of hard work in away from cricket to give myself the best chance of a quicker recovery and, with Christmas and everything coming up, the main thing for me is getting this knee right and being ready and raring to go for that Test series in India.”

Half centuries to Stokes, Joe Root – who finally rediscovered some form with the bat, and Jonny Bairstow set the platform for England’s total of 337 for 9. Player of the Match David Willey, in his final match before international retirement then removed both Pakistan openers and ended with figures of 3 for 56, including his 100th ODI wicket, to spearhead England’s bowling attack. Gus Atkinson, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid each took a brace to help bowl out their opponents for 244.
Agha Salman defied the run of play in some part with a fighting 51 and, despite an entertaining tenth-wicket stand worth 53 from just 35 deliveries between Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim, it wasn’t enough as Pakistan exited the tournament with four wins and five defeats.

Stokes said that while leaving India with a win allowed England to end the tournament on a positive note, it wouldn’t paper over the cracks that had emerged in their 50-over game.

“It’s a lot nicer getting on the plane, going home with a victory in your last game than getting on there with a loss,” Stokes said. “But I don’t think the last two games will overshadow, whatever’s the right word, for how this tournament has been for us as a group and as individuals. It’s obviously been very disappointing. We’re very aware of that, very honest in that.”

Stokes also remained at a loss to explain where England’s title defence had come undone.

“I’ve said it quite a few times when I’ve constantly been asked what’s gone wrong, can you put your finger on it? No. We’ve just been, I’ll rephrase it, we’ve been a bit rubbish,” he said.

“Ourselves in the dressing-room, people outside, will obviously be frustrated. We’re flabbergasted as to why things have gone the way that they have gone. But look, if anyone could have the answer to situations that a team like us found ourselves in from eight weeks ago they’d be an absolute genius.

“It’s obviously just going to be very frustrating to look back on and just going to be one of those things that, as professional athletes and professional sportsmen, we’re going to have to get over because there’s always something else around the corner, there’s always something else to play for. There’s always another big tournament to play in and something that I’ve lived my career by is you’re only as good as the next game, which manages to keep you very, very level through success or failure.

“Success is brilliant, but failure as well can also be an unbelievable thing to give people experience, especially young people who are trying to make their way in international cricket. Our senior players are very frustrated and the younger guys trying to make their way will be very frustrated with how things have gone. But through failures and through frustration, that can also take you to the next level just as much as success can.”

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