England limited-overs captain Jos Buttler hailed “superstar” Ben Stokes following his decision to come out of ODI retirement.
The England Test skipper had originally called time on his 50-over career last summer amid concerns surrounding workload and a knee problem.
However, Stokes announced his intention to play ODI cricket again earlier this month and has subsequently been named in the squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand with the World Cup in India looming in October.
England play the Black Caps in four T20s first before the same amount of ODIs, which begin in Cardiff next month, and Buttler admitted he was “delighted” to have Stokes back in the fold.
“It’s excellent news on all fronts, it’s great for cricket to have a superstar like Ben Stokes in a World Cup,” Buttler told a press conference.
“You want to see those players in those major showpiece events so it’s fantastic that he’s made himself available.
“When a player of that calibre is available again it’s a no-brainer really that you want them back in your team.
“You look at the impact he has in every game he plays really, but especially in the last couple of World Cups, he’s the man in the middle with the crucial moment.
“We’re delighted to have him back, it’s not just the cricket but everything else he brings to the group.”
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) August 16, 2023
Stokes played a pivotal role in England winning the 50-over World Cup in 2019, scoring an unbeaten 84 in the final against New Zealand before starring in the Super Over alongside Buttler.
He will be returning to the ODI squad as a specialist batter and Buttler added that Stokes made his decision following the conclusion of the Ashes series.
He said: “Ben and I caught up during the IPL, had some good conversations about what he wanted to achieve in the year, so him coming to me and saying that the Ashes is his main priority, but if he could come through that physically he’d like to be considered for the World Cup.
“So I just left it at that and said you let me know after the Ashes how you’re feeling.
“We spoke after that, he said he’d be available as a batter and that was enough for me to just say brilliant ‘can’t wait to have you back’.”
England’s last T20 outing came in Bangladesh, where they suffered a series whitewash, and after a five-month hiatus they open the 20-over leg of the New Zealand series at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.
Although one eye is on the World Cup later this year, Buttler is looking forward to a “great test”.
“It’s great to be back together as a squad having not played together since Bangladesh in March,” Buttler added.
“It’s very exciting stuff on the horizon obviously with the World Cup in India, but we start with the T20 series here against New Zealand which we’re determined to do well in.
“Of course I suppose the main priority is the ODIs against New Zealand, I think they’ll be a great test for us ahead of the World Cup.”