Daily Mail

Mott: Please Ben, end ODI retirement and lead title defence in India

- PAUL NEWMAN in Melbourne

BEN STOKES will be asked to forget his one-day retirement and help England win another World Cup next year.

Coach Matthew Mott will make a plea to the man who did more than anyone to clinch the Twenty20 World Cup for England to make a U-turn and join their defence of the 50-over title in India in October. ‘When Ben spoke to me last summer about his ODI retirement I said I’d back any decision he made,’ said Mott after England had celebrated victory over Pakistan long into the Melbourne night.

‘But I did tell him he didn’t necessaril­y have to retire.

He could just not play 50 overs for a while. And that he could always unretire. It’s going to be a World Cup next year and we don’t play much T20 for a while but it will be Ben’s decision. ‘The more we can get him in our teams the better. He’s doing an amazing job with the Test captaincy but he is a very big cog in the wheel when he comes back to the white-ball side.’ How Stokes again proved that with the key innings against Pakistan as England became the first side to hold both 50-over and T20 world titles at the same time. It followed his starring role in the famous 50-over triumph at Lord’s in 2019 and proved that Stokes is one of the world’s most influentia­l players and as Jos Buttler said, arguably the greatest English player of all time. ‘He’s just one of those people,’ said Mott, who has been working with Stokes for an extended period for the first time here.

‘Ian Botham had the same impact on teams. Whenever Ben has the ball or bat you feel you have a chance of winning. And even though he has got a bit of a knee injury he throws himself about in the field. ‘That was the perfect game for him. It was a tricky chase and we had to absorb pressure and find a way to get over the line. It’s not all bash and bravado. ‘Sometimes you need game smarts and Stokesey is one of the best at it. He has added so much leadership around the group.

‘As long as he was out there we would be OK because that’s been proven in his history. I’m really happy for him. He has been the glue in this team. He has shown his class.

‘I’ll let him dust off and then we will have a chat about next year’s World Cup. He’s his own man and he’ll do what he thinks is right for English cricket and he always has.’ How England enjoyed a win that confirmed them as one of the great limited overs sides. They celebrated on the outfield and in the MCG dressing room with the large number of families before returning to their hotel to carry on the party. ‘It’s the first time I’ve seen 5am for quite a while,’ smiled Mott. The coach was sporting a new closely shaved bald look provided by Moeen Ali’s clippers, which Mott promised he would do should England win the final.

‘Sam Curran was having a go at my lack of hair at one stage and I said, “If we win the World Cup you can take it off”. They got me but the good thing about it is I get to dye Sam’s hair whatever colour I like. I’m still choosing at the moment.’ Curran, player of the tournament here and destined to be an integral part of the team for years to come, was delighted after missing out on last year’s T20 World Cup at the last minute through injury. ‘I don’t care about the injury,’ he said. ‘Maybe as a positive I got a little bit stronger and had my first proper break since I started playing. Now I can call myself a world champion, which is pretty cool.

It’s an amazing feeling.’

Curran also said he was bowling a bit quicker than he has before. ‘Maybe it was just freshness and I did a bit of work back at Surrey. I got a little bit stronger and worked a little bit on alignment. When you are playing well and feeling in good rhythm you can naturally get a bit more of a buzz towards the crease. The grounds in Australia, I guess, suited the way I wanted to bowl.’ Curran is now targeting further trophies. ‘Any time you win a tournament you want more,’ he said. ‘I chatted to a few of the boys who won it in 2019 and asked what it was like to win a World Cup. They said it gives you that buzz and how cool it is to say you have won a World Cup.’ Curran now heads to Thursday’s first of three one-dayers against Australia in Adelaide, possibly with his new hair colour. It is amazing England play so soon after the World Cup, with the bulk of their T20 squad involved in the 50-over matches making their weary way to Adelaide yesterday.

‘I can’t lie, it’s not ideal,’ said Mott. ‘It’s just a series we’ll have to be really profession­al about and then as a white-ball team have a break and properly let our hair down.’

 ?? PA ?? Plea to Stokes: white-ball coach Mott
PA Plea to Stokes: white-ball coach Mott

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