England are going ahead with their plans for this year's ODI World Cup in India without allrounder Ben Stokes, the country's Test captain who was the hero of his country's 2019 ODI World Cup win.
England white-ball captain Jos Buttler has confirmed that at this moment they believe that Stokes has retired from limited-overs cricket and therefore are planning without him for the 50-over World Cup to be held in October-November.
One of England's best all-rounders in recent times, Stokes had retired from the 50-over format last year over concerns about his gruelling schedule.
But this week, England's white-ball coach Matthew Mott revealed that he would like the 31-year-old Stokes to be part of the England team when it defends its 50-overs World Cup title in India.
"The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is red-ball cricket as the captain," he said, adding "we leave the door open."
However, when asked about this on the eve of the three-match ODI series against South Africa at Bloemfontein on Friday, Buttler said at the moment they are planning without Stokes's involvement.
"If he wants to change his decision, of course, he'd be welcomed back with open arms but we are very much at the moment planning as if he won't be available," Buttler was quoted as saying in a report by mirror.co.uk.
Buttler is excited about the possibility of having Jofra Archer back as the bowler is currently taking part in the SA20. Though Buttler was thrilled by the prospect of Archer's return but realised that there are still concerns about the bowler's fitness.
"He's only just coming back to competitive cricket, this will be his first international game in a long time, and there's always going to be a level of expectation on Jofra because we all know what he's capable of.
But I'm sure he's just going to get better and better as he comes back," Buttler said.