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England coach Mott says 'door always open' for Stokes to play at Cricket World Cup

By Daniel Lewis

England coach Matthew Mott says "the door is always open" for Ben Stokes to reverse his ODI retirement and play at the Cricket World Cup later this year.

All-rounder Stokes brought an end to his 50-over international career in July because of an "unsustainable" schedule alongside his Test captaincy.

However, the 31-year-old recently suggested he may potentially consider representing England at the World Cup in Pakistan in October and November.

Mott is hopeful that will be the case and will not rush Stokes – the man of the match when England beat New Zealand in the 2019 final – into making a decision.

"The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is red ball cricket as the captain," he told reporters.

"We respect that and when he's ready to chat, we'll do that."

Asked if there will be a cut-off point for Stokes to decide what he wants to do, Mott said: "I've had some good discussions with Jos [Buttler] and Rob Key on this.

"Players are playing a lot of franchise cricket, coming in and out at different times, so we need to keep a really flexible, open mind to players.

"When we sit down to pick that 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players possible."

Mott was speaking ahead of England's three-match ODI series against South Africa, which begins in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Stokes may not be present, but fast bowler Jofra Archer is in line for his first international appearance since March 2021 after recovering from a series of injury setbacks.

"Having watched him from a distance, I think he's one of the most exciting things to have happened in cricket for the last decade. It will be great to have him," Mott said.

"He's full throttle, fast and brings such energy. He is one of those guys that if you are there sitting in the pub and he's bowling, you're watching. That's a big thing to have.

"Everyone here will get a lift around bowlers like him. He's spent a lot of time out and I know he's absolutely frothing to play."

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 9:09 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 25, 2023