London: With England white-ball captain Jos Buttler keen to have Ben Stokes as a permanent member of the ‘top four’, the 31-year-old all-rounder will bat at No 4 in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, a position he has never batted at in the 34 T20Is so far.
England’s white-ball coach Matthew Mott too said Stokes had been shuffling up and down the order during his career and that he wanted to give a clear role to the Test captain, who missed the seven-match T20I series against Pakistan recently and joined the T20 World Cup squad in Australia directly.
“One of the things that’s been said for a while is that he (Stokes) hasn’t had a clear role,” Mott was quoted as saying by The Cricketer.
“And Jos (Buttler) in particular is clear that he’s a top-four player. Those conditions in Australia will suit the way he plays. You always have a bit of flexibility with the batting, but he will be expected to be higher in the innings.
“I got a couple of texts (from Stokes) on Sunday. He was jumping on that flight ready to go. We’ve deliberately left him alone. He’s had a busy summer,” added Mott.
Plenty of time left
“There’s a lot of time before that first World Cup game and when we get to Australia, we’ll be really clear with everybody on what the expectations are with their roles.”
Stokes, who recently retired from One day International cricket to concentrate on Tests and T20Is, averages just over 20 but hasn’t played a T20I since March 2021. Last year he played just one T20 for IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, five matches for Durham in T20 Blast and a couple of matches for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred.
England begin their T20 World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on October 22 in Perth.