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'Stokes has taken the right call to miss T20 World Cup'

Source: PTI
April 05, 2024 17:01 IST
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'Ben Stokes has made some incredible decisions in his career that have paid off for him.'

IMAGE: Ben Stokes top-scored with 52 not out to steer England to victory in the 2022 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Former England pacer Stuart Broad backed talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes' decision to opt out of this year's T20 World Cup due to fitness reasons but expressed concerns about fast bowler Jofra Archer's never-ending injury woes.

Supporting Stokes' withdrawal from the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States, Broad said the defending champions will miss his aura but have enough resources to replace him as a player. The left-hander was the top-scorer for England in the 2022 T20 World Cup final against Pakistan, hitting an unbeaten 52 to steer his team to an easy five-wicket victory.


"Whatever Ben decides to do for the well-being of himself is the right decision. Ben Stokes has made some incredible decisions in his career that have paid off for him," Broad told PTI.

"He wants to get back to (being) the all-rounder that he was and he feels like getting some workload through the knee in a controlled environment, without the help of a scale to pressurise the nature of a T20 World Cup, is the best choice," he said.

While Archer has found it difficult to cope with the elbow injury to his bowling arm, getting an England contract for two years is a sign that the management believes the ace pacer would be back to his best soon. Broad said he is hoping to see him back in the World Cup.

"Yeah, it's a concern. First of all, (he is) a friend of mine, a team-mate of mine, an amazing talent for world cricket. He has got genuine pace, he moves the ball. He's a match winner," Broad said.

"We have not seen the best of Jofra Archer on the field now, for coming on, nearly four years. He's played bits and bobs, but he's had awful injury problems which is very difficult for him to cope with.

"I think there's positivity from him and the England camp that there's a chance we might see him in the T20 World Cup, which would be a great lift for England fans and cricket fans around the world," he added.

Archer pulled out of this year's IPL from the Mumbai Indians' squad after he suffered another injury setback in November 2023, but he surprised everyone by turning up to play a match for his school team in Barbados, since they were on the verge of being relegated.

The England and Wales Cricket Board was not aware when Archer answered the SOS call and went on to play the game in December.

Broad said it is concerning that Archer's injury keeps coming back but hoped that there would be an end to it eventually.

"It's a concern that his injury keeps coming back, but he's got some really good people around him to help lift him up and drive him forward. Ultimately, he's signed a two-year contract with England cricket, so they must believe that he'll come back to his best as soon as possible," Broad said.

Talking about the T20 World Cup in June, Broad said the only aspect which England might miss about Stokes is the leadership he provides.

Stokes said his pullout from the World Cup is a sacrifice that he is making to be able to remain an all-rounder.

"England, of course, will miss a player of that aura. But England have got the quality to cover that. They've got the batting line-up that's full of hitters and they've got some good pace bowling options and spin bowling options," he said.

"They'll miss the aura and the leadership skills of Ben Stokes, but they can cover him as a player," Broad added.

Having recently retired, Broad said he wants to explore all opportunities to remain associated with the game and remains open to taking up coaching gigs as well.

"I'm interested in everything. I think having only retired from the playing side in August, I wanted to see... I didn't want to sort of dive into anything really specifically straight away. I wanted to see loads of different career paths, to see what I really enjoy," he said.

"Ultimately, cricket is my greatest hobby. I love talking about the game. I love being a part of the game. Whether that's being a pundit, commentary, coaching, just being part of the sport is

"I love the game of cricket. I love watching it. I love playing it and I will always be a part of it," he added.

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