Former Australian Test skipper Tim Paine lashed out at England Test captain Ben Stokes for coming out of ODI retirement to play in the World Cup, saying he cannot just ‘pick and choose’ events.
Stokes, 32, had announced his ODI retirement in July last year saying playing three formats had become ‘unsustainable’ for him. But he recently came out of retirement to be included in the 15-member England squad to play a limited-overs fixture against New Zealand at home, which is a preparatory series for the World Cup in India.
While England are excited about the all-rounder’s return to the ODI side ahead of the World Cup in India from October 5, Paine indicated Stokes was being selfish.
“Ben Stokes coming out of one day retirement, I found that interesting,” Paine said on Sen Radio.
“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’.”
Paine opined that England cricketers, who had been slogging for 12 months waiting to play in the World Cup, will have to sit out to make way for Stokes.
“The guys who played for 12 months, ‘Sorry, thanks. But can you go and sit on the bench because I want to play now?’,” said Paine.
Stokes has also been included in the 15-member squad to face touring New Zealand in the limited-overs series in September and is likely to play as a specialist batter as bowling aggravates his chronic knee injury.
The England cricket board’s decision to include Stokes for the New Zealand series had come at the expense of Harry Brook, indicated Paine.
Brook, who became the fastest player to compete 1,000 Test runs on a per-ball basis — he took 1,058 balls to achieve the feat — has failed to find a place in the squad.
“I don’t know, he’s (Stokes) not bowling. Harry Brook or Ben Stokes? As a bat. It would be very close, very, very close.”
Paine, though, admitted that reigning ODI World Cup champions England will enter the upcoming showpiece as favourites alongside hosts India.
“Probably (England are now favourites), them and India. I think the Aussies if they can get hot (they can also win),” added Paine.
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