England limited-overs captain Jos Buttler has hailed Ben Stokes following his decision to come out of ODI retirement.
Stokes called time on his 50-over career last year due to concerns over his punishing workload and a knee problem.
However, the England Test skipper announced his intention to play ODI cricket again earlier this month and has been named in the squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand, with the World Cup in India looming in October.
England, world champions in both white-ball formats, play the Black Caps in four T20Is and four ODIs and Buttler admitted he was “delighted” to have Stokes back in the fold.
“It’s excellent news on all fronts,” said Buttler. “It’s great for cricket to have a superstar like Ben Stokes in a World Cup.
“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.”
Stokes played a pivotal role in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph, scoring an unbeaten 84 in the final against New Zealand before starring in the Super Over alongside Buttler.
“You look at the impact he has in every game he plays really, but especially in the last couple of World Cups [including the 2022 T20 World Cup], he’s the man in the middle with the crucial moment,” said Buttler.
“We’re delighted to have him back. It’s not just the cricket but everything else he brings to the group.”
All-rounder Stokes (32) will be returning to the ODI squad as a specialist batter and Buttler said he made his decision following the conclusion of the recent Ashes series, which ended 2-2.
“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’,” said Buttler.
England open the 20-over section of the New Zealand series at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday.
The first ODI takes place in Cardiff on 8 September.
Although England have one eye on the World Cup later this year, Buttler is looking forward to a “great test” against the Black Caps.
“It’s great to be back together as a squad having not played together since Bangladesh in March,” he said.
“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.”
© Agence France-Presse