London [UK], September 14 (ANI): England all-rounder Ben Stokes admitted that he knew that he would return to ODI cricket to play the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup which will take place in India from October 5.
Stokes announced retirement from the ODI last year and even told the media at the end of the Ashes series this year that he had no ambitions to reverse his decision and play in the World Cup.
Stokes's blistering knock of 182 off 124 guided England to a massive 181-run victory over New Zealand in the third ODI match on Wednesday.
"Obviously I've been asked a lot about my knee over a long period of time, so I just said that to leave it, I knew that I'd be playing in these games and potentially in the World Cup then when I said that, but it was just the easiest thing to say that and put you (the media) off the radar," Stokes said in the post-match presentation.
Stokes achieved a milestone in the match by becoming an English player with the best knock in ODI cricket surpassing Jason Roy's 180 against Australia in 2018.
"I didn't really know (about the record) until the bloke on the tannoy (loudspeaker) announced it - then I got out next ball," Stokes said.
"This is the first time that I've been clear in my mind that that's the one thing I can focus on." "I think over the last 18 months, every day has been, 'will I bowl, will I not bowl?' Now, I know that I can just focus on that... that's my thing for the team now. Having that clarity in my head contributes to that.
"I'd prefer not to go in that early because I want to see the other lads at the top do well. I don't think I've necessarily changed my approach in one-day cricket from all the years I spent at No. 5 or 6... I still think that batting at No. 4, I'll go out with the exact same approach I had at No. 5," he added. Coming to the match, England was put to bat first by the Kiwis and were struggling at 13/2 when Stokes came out. He had a 199-run partnership for the third wicket with Dawid Malan (96 in 95 balls, 12 fours and a six) and a 78-run stand for the fourth wicket with skipper Jos Buttler (38 in 24 balls, six fours and a six), which took England to 368 in 48.1 overs despite a lower-order collapse.
Trent Boult (5/51) and Ben Lister (3/69) were the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis.
In the chase of 339, Kiwis were rocked by the pace trio of Chris Woakes, Reece Topley and Sam Curran and were struggling at 70/5. Glenn Phillips (72 in 76 balls, with five fours and two sixes) and Rachin Ravindra (28 in 22 balls, five fours) tried fighting back but NZ was bundled out for 187 in just 39 overs.
Woakes (3/31) and Livingstone (3/16) were the pick of the bowlers for NZ. Topley took two, Curran and Moeen Ali got one each.
Stokes took home the 'Player of the Match' award.
England is leading the series 2-1 with a match to go. (ANI)