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Michael Atherton: Ben Stokes' T20 World Cup omission is not a surprise for England

Ben Stokes has ruled himself out of this summer's T20 World Cup in order to focus on being fit to play a full all-rounder role in all formats of cricket; England won the World Cup back in 2022 with Stokes in the side; Watch every match this June live on Sky Sports

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Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain discuss why they believe Ben Stokes missing the T20 World Cup to focus on the County Championship is the right decision for him

Ben Stokes' omission from the T20 World Cup is "not a surprise" says Sky Sports' Michael Atherton as the England Test captain continues his recovery to becoming a top all-rounder in all formats.

Stokes announced on Tuesday he does not wish to be considered for England selection for this summer's ICC Men's T20 World Cup, which will take place in June in the West Indies and USA, live on Sky Sports.

The 32-year-old hopes to recover fully in time for the summer of Test cricket where England play two three-match series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

"I don't think it's a massive surprise given that had already delayed his operation and recovery from his knee injury for the 50-over World Cup," said Atherton on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.

"He would've certainly been picked. He wants to get back to being an all-rounder in the Test team but England also have a very important 2025 when they take on India at home and then Australia in the Ashes.

"Of all the three formats the T20 format, because it's the shortest format of the game and is the one where players have a limited chance to stamp their mark, is the one he is the least valuable for England.

"I feel like England will start to inject some new blood into their T20 and 50-over side."

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England beat Pakistan in the 2022 T20 World Cup final but during the 50-over edition of the tournament in India last year Jos Buttler's side crashed out in the group stage after nine consecutive losses.

England's ICC Men's T20 World Cup defence starts on June 4 against Scotland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. They will then play group matches against Australia, Oman, and Namibia in Barbados and Antigua before qualification for the Super 8s and knockout stages.

"It's not a surprise but it is a bit of a blow. You want your big-game players," said Nasser Hussain.

"England had a very poor 50-over World Cup and you feel that Rob Key and the selectors are going to change a little bit.

"I felt it was like a bit of the end of an era for that great white ball side that Eoin Morgan built and Buttler took over. They are defending champions of this title and you hope they will have a better fist of it than they did in India.

"In a big game or during a semi-final you'd want to have someone like Stokes around but I think he's made the right decision.

"He said it wasn't just for Test match cricket, he wants to get his body right and wants to be an all-rounder in all formats of the game."

Bairstow: It would be special to emulate 2010 World Cup

England are taking inspiration from Paul Collingwood's 2010 squad who led them to T20 victory in Barbados
Image: England are taking inspiration from Paul Collingwood's 2010 squad who led them to T20 victory in Barbados

England's Jonny Bairstow missed out on the T20 World Cup glory in 2022 after he broke his leg and dislocated his ankle after slipping during a round of golf.

However, this year the 34-year-old is hoping England can emulate the success of Paul Collingwood's side when they stormed to a seven-wicket victory over Australia at the Kensington Oval during the T20 World Cup final in 2010.

"I'm feeling really good about my game, it's less than a year coming back from my ankle and I'm moving the best I have since the operation," said Bairstow speaking to Sky Sports.

"I'll be hopeful going to the World Cup. I missed the win in Australia with the guys and that was such a great competition to watch afar but I also want to be a part of it.

"The special memories that are made and the special bonds that are made with the people out there. Hopefully we can recreate what happened in the West Indies in 2010.

"The ODI World Cup and this T20 edition are different competitions, they will be played in different conditions and we'll come up against different teams so you can't bring one format into another.

"Each format is going to be judged individually. The squad that will be selected with the be guys that Buttler and Matthew Mott feel are in the best place to put their best foot forward.

"It would be a pretty special thing to retain the T20 World Cup."

Group stage

  • Group A - India, Pakistan, Ireland, Canada, USA
  • Group B - England, Australia, Namibia, Scotland, Oman
  • Group C - New Zealand, West Indies, Afghanistan, Uganda, Papua New Guinea
  • Group D - South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Nepal

Watch the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup this June live on Sky Sports. Stream the best cricket and more top sport with NOW

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