Ace English all-rounder Ben Stokes retired from international cricket in July this year, citing his inability to compete in all three formats at the same time. In his retirement note, he mentioned to focus more on Test cricket and the shortest format of the game. Recently he played an important role in England’s T20 World Cup win against Pakistan at MCG. He smashed an unbeaten 52 off 49 balls and his stellar performance has surely inspired the all-rounder to come out of retirement as England look to retain the trophy they won at home in 2019.
According to a report in Daily Mail, Stokes admitted during the preparations for the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi that he did not know how he felt about the prospect of defending the title in India next year.
“Somebody (Rob Key) pulled me up in the UAE (during training ahead of the Test series against Pakistan) and as soon as he said about the 50-over World Cup, I just walked away,” Stokes said.
“Who knows? At the moment, being out here, my focus is completely on this series (in Pakistan). But it is one of those things. Who knows if I will be there for the (50-over) World Cup at that time. How can I feel? It’s a wonderful thing to go to the World Cup to represent my country. But at the moment I’m not even thinking about it.”
Stokes and Co. have reached Pakistan to play Test series after 17 years. But ahead of the series opener in Rawalpindi, several players, including the captain, fell ill and were forced to skip an optional training session on Wednesday.
Seven England players fell ill just 24 hours before the contest, but the tourists announced they had enough players to field the side.
“ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have informed the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) that they are in a position to field an XI, and as such, the first Test will begin as per schedule today (Thursday, December 1) at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Cricket said in a statement, according to the ICC.
While England are out of contention to make it to the final of next year’s World Test Championship, the series is crucial for Pakistan as they attempt to qualify.
(with agency inputs)