Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, two players who helped England win the ODI World Cup four years ago, could still play in their title defense against India later this year. In contrast to Archer, who has been sidelined by a recurrence of the stress fracture in his elbow, Stokes retired from the 50-over format last year, citing the “increasing demands of international cricket on his body.”
This Tuesday, the men’s team’s national selectors will reveal a preliminary 18-person squad, and white-ball coach Matthew Mott has voiced optimism that both key players for major games may still be available. While Stokes’ availability is uncertain, Archer has resumed bowling in the nets after being ruled out of the Ashes series. Mott is even content to have a proven match-winner like Stokes bat only given his previous knee issues.
And with Moeen Ali temporarily returning to Test cricket at Stokes’ request, retirement U-turns might be in style in England. An analogous call will be made to the legendary all-rounder.
Ben is very honest with all of us, but Jos Buttler will probably take the lead on that conversation. We’ll check on his interest level’, Mott told Daily Mail. “Although there hasn’t been any indication of what he’s going to do just yet, we remain optimistic. Even though I’ve always said that his bowling would be a plus, just look at what he brings to the table with the bat.
He had such a strong presence while I watched the entire Ashes series. When it comes to playing in one-day cricket, he has been doing it for years, making him a priceless asset.
Despite his recent setback, there is more optimism that Archer will be able to travel to India. When making his maiden comeback from injury earlier this year, the 28-year-old fast bowler showed no symptoms of rust, recording career-best ODI statistics of 6/40 against South Africa in only his second match back. He also performed almost at peak levels in terms of pace during the series in Bangladesh, and along with Mark Wood, he will give England the air speed they need to beat hitters on Indian pitches that should be conducive to batting.
“It would be a lot to ask of him to play every game, so we would have to focus on particular ones, but we are big on ball speed for India, we feel that’s a really important asset for us to have out there, and it will be good to see Mark Wood, who had such an impact in the Ashes, do the same with the white ball.
The problem with pace like that is that it affects the team as a whole, not just the immediate effect of unnerving or making opponents feel uncomfortable. Take a look at Wood’s impact on the Ashes’ later stages. Everyone else on the pitch benefited from his energy and contributions.
“You can win games over there a lot easier if you can disrupt top orders and deny the big hundred-makers. The method India plays is designed to ensure that individuals are “in” at the 40-over point and hence able to score 100 or more during the last 10 overs, and that is very difficult to stop, according to Mott.
As per ICC rules, England has until September 28 to reduce their roster to 15 before this week’s squad announcement. They’ll have enough time to determine whether the pair is prepared for the major event at that point.