Ben Stokes' World Cup Return

Published on: Oct 01, 2023

World Cups are, in whatever sport, intended to provide a stage on which the finest talent on the planet can showcase their skill. These competitions pool the elite, thrust them into battle, and let them slug it out until one ultimate victor emerges triumphant. In white-ball cricketing terms, England have been top dogs as of late and they are looking to hold onto their crown.

England's Recent Success and World Cup Outlook

After claiming 50-over honours in 2019, a T20 crown was secured on Australian soil in 2022. As double world champions, the English are looking to embrace the challenge of heading into another bid for global glory in 2023, with them being priced at 3/1 in Cricket World Cup winner odds.

India, as hosts, are also expected to perform well, while the likes of Australia and Pakistan are always there or thereabouts when the biggest of prizes are on the table.

In a bid to ensure they defend their title, England have gathered a talent pool so deep that not all the big names have been picked. Among those to have been given the nod is Ben Stokes – the talismanic captain of the nation’s Test team.

Ben Stokes' Accolades and Drive for Glory

Having helped to reach the summit, Stokes understandably wants to aid efforts to remain on the loftiest of perches. He is also far from being alone when it comes to wanting even more medals to add to his collection – as it is those mementos that separate the good from the great.

He had supposedly retired from ODI cricket in June 2022, with the demands of multi-format competition considered to be “unsustainable”. His decision has now been reversed, much to the delight of England supporters and to the despair of many rivals.

Former Australia skipper Tim Paine has been among the more outspoken opponents to Stokes’ professional U-turn, saying: “It was a bit of, ‘me, me, me’, there isn’t it? It was, ‘I’ll pick and I’ll choose where I want to play and when I want to play’, and, ‘I’ll play in the big tournaments’.”

If anybody has earned the right to make such decisions – whether there is a selfish element to them or not – it is Stokes.

His exploits in the international arena have been superhuman at times, with it being only because of him that England are currently in possession of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup trophy. In particular, his efforts on a memorable afternoon at Lord’s against New Zealand back in 2019 are now the stuff of sporting folklore.

Paine may not like it, and a few others probably have grievances to air, but said complaints will continue to fall on deaf ears as England prepare to fire in India with the most destructive players at their disposal.