Broken-hearted, betrayed and backstabbed. That is how cricket fans felt in July of 2022. The fan favorite, the legendary Ben Stokes had announced his retirement from the fifty-over format. He had been a part of 104 ODI matches. His “last” one was against South Africa in Durham, after which he had decided to take a well-deserved retirement.
However, it is safe to say miracles do occur! That’s right: Ben Stokes’ return has been confirmed.
What was the reason for his retirement?
Stokes wanted to shift his entire focus on his T20 career while also managing the test captaincy. He described playing all three formats as “unsustainable”. Wanting nothing but the best for his team, he decided to retire and make better use of his skills.
Ben Stokes was already suffering before he retired. First, he took a break from international cricket in 2021 to focus on his mental health. He has also had a knee injury this year which is not a great sign.
Then the all-rounder struggled to score in the ODIs he played post the world cup triumph. For instance, he barely scored 48 runs in three innings against India at Old Trafford. The English lost to India. All these reasons led him to announce his retirement suddenly.
The miracle: Ben Stokes’ return
England lifted the world cup trophy in the last world cup. Looks like they want to defend their title, which is what Ben Stokes’ return will help with. The announcement of the world cup squad has been made which includes this multi-dimensional player as well.
The English Cricket Board itself announced Ben Stokes’ return amusingly:
As people were still trying to digest this news, the player took to twitter to express himself. Whilst he only used three letters, the message he delivered of his return was pretty heavy.
How will Ben Stokes’ return benefit England?
Three words: World Cup Final. Let’s all jog our memories and think about the time when Stokes helped bag the 2019 World Cup. His incredible batting left the Kiwis to taste defeat. That nail-biting match truly showcases Stoke’s talent.
He not only possesses the admirable quality to bend high pressure matches his way but can also mend his approach as required. England may have pools of talent but it will be very hard to find a replacement for Stokes. He is an elite hitter who averaged 47.19 in the 2019 World Cup series. The test captain had a commendable strike rate of 97.53.
Ben Stokes’ return to the team is a favour to humanity and without it, England’s batting order would be in shambles.