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Cricket World Cup 2023: Stokes reverses 50-over retirement decision

England Test captain Ben Stokes has reversed his decision to retire from the 50-over format to make himself available for the World Cup 2023, which will take place later this year.

Stokes had stepped away from ODIs to concentrate on the five-day game but will be available as a specialist batter for the tournament which starts in India in October.

Following this summer's gruelling Ashes series, which was drawn 2-2 with Australia, Stokes had been expected to take a lengthy break in which he would have surgery on a troublesome knee injury.

However, he has decided to put himself in contention for selection for the England squad which is due to be announced by 5th September. 

Changes can be made up until September 27th but it is unlikely that Stokes would have taken this decision without an expectation that he would be selected.

WhatWorld Cup 2023
When5th October - 19th November 2023
WhereIndia
How to watchSky Sports Cricket
OddsIndia 11/5, England 3/1, Australia 4/1, Pakistan 7/1, New Zealand 15/2

A chance for more silverware

England are looking to defend the trophy they won in 2019 with a thrilling Super Over victory over New Zealand.

Stokes scored the winning runs at Lord's that day and was named player of the match for his heroics. He also starred in last year's T20 World Cup final in which England beat Pakistan.

England are 3/1 to successfully defend their One-Day World Cup title, with hosts India 11/5 favourites.

Australia have won the tournament on a record five occasions and are 4/1 to win it for the first time since 2015, while Pakistan at 7/1 and New Zealand at 15/2 look lively outsiders.

South Africa have never tasted World Cup glory and are 10/1 shots to break their duck, while Sri Lanka are 25/1 to get their hands on the trophy for just the second time.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Netherlands also feature in the tournament but they are expected to be just making up the numbers at 33/1, 50/1 and 750/1, respectively. 

The ten nation tournament gets underway on 5th October and will reach its conclusion with a day-night final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on 19th November.

The competition will follow a round-robin format with each side facing each other once and the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals.

Stokes the man for the big occasion

Each country is permitted to pick 15 players in their squads but they can also take three travelling reserves and it is almost certain Stokes will be involved following his decision to abandon his retirement, although it is not quite guaranteed.

Stokes will have to be certain that he can get through the rigours of the tournament and he is only likely to be selected as a batter despite his skills as a bowler.

If England are to retain their trophy, though, they need their best players at their disposal, and there is little doubt Stokes remains in that bracket.

England have won three World Cups. On two occasions, the 2019 One Day World Cup, and last year's T20 World Cup, he has been undefeated on the way to victory and played the decisive innings in the final, so it easy to see why his inclusion is likely.

His ability to come up with the goods at the right time is priceless, as are his leadership qualities, which passed the test with this summer's pulsating Ashes series.

Record hints he can hit the ground running

Stokes has played just ten ODIs since the 2019 World Cup final so he will need to become re-accustomed to the shorter format, although a look at his record suggests it is arguably his strongest aspect of the game. 

His ODI average of 39 is three runs higher than his Test average and he has scored at a strike rate of 95. His talent for batting at different tempos depending on the nature of the situation is another reason why England will be so keen to see him involved.

His ability to bowl could also prove crucial but it is unlikely he would be called upon unless in desperate need and later on in the tournament.

Stokes cited an unsustainable workload when calling time on his ODI career, but the 32-year-old is a born competitor and it will be hard for anyone to deny him one last hurrah with the white ball.

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