Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine has blasted England skipper Ben Stokes’ decision to come out retirement for the World Cup as about “me, me, me”.
Stokes quit the ODI format 13 months ago due to a demanding workload as a multi-format player and amid concerns about a chronic left knee injury.
But he changed his mind during the week ahead of England’s defence of their 50-over World Cup title in India in October.
Paine, who led Australia between 2018 and 2021 before being forced to stand down after a scandal over lewd messages to a female colleague, was unimpressed.
“Ben Stokes coming out of one-day retirement, I found that interesting,” he said on SEN sports radio late Friday. “It was a bit of, ‘Me, me, me’, there isn’t it?
“It was, ‘I’ll pick and I’ll choose where I want to play and when I want to play’, and, ‘I’ll play in the big tournaments’.
“The guys who played for 12 months, ‘Sorry, thanks. But can you go and sit on the bench because I want to play now.'”
All-rounder Stokes (32) did not bowl at all during the last three Tests of the recent drawn Ashes series against Australia, and looks set to play the World Cup as a specialist batsman only.
His return came at the expense of Harry Brook, which was also questioned by Paine, who retired from all cricket in March.
“Harry Brook or Ben Stokes? As a bat. It would be very close, very, very close,” he said.
England national selector Luke Wright said the decision to include Stokes in their 15-man squad was down to “it’s a World Cup we want to win and we feel like we are better, and have more chance, with Stokesy than we haven’t”.
“If ever there’s someone for the big moments it’s Ben Stokes,” he added.
© Agence France-Presse