Matthew Mott says he hopes Ben Stokes will reverse his decision to retire from ODIs, adding that Jofra Archer is fit again and ready to play.
England Test captain Stokes quit the 50-over format last year, but Mott hopes the star all-rounder can make a U-turn in time for the World Cup in India in October and November.
“We’ve had a couple of hookups here and there and I joked ‘how are you going, are you ready to make your decision?’ He is irresponsible at this point,” Mott said.
“The door is always open for a player of this quality but we are also very aware that his main focus as captain is Red Ball cricket.
“We need to be really flexible, open-minded to the players and when we sit down to pick that 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players.”
Archer, meanwhile, is pressing for a return to England as the fast bowler prepares to end almost two years of injury frustration.
Archer’s last international appearance came in March 2021, with his highly promising career derailed by an elbow problem that required two operations following a stress fracture in his lower back.
He made his competitive return in South Africa’s inaugural T20 Franchise League this month and will increase his workload in England’s otherwise low-key ODI series against the Proteas starting on Friday.
While Archer is highly unlikely to feature in the three games in six days, he is eager to play for England, according to Mott, who will get to see the 27-year-old up close for the first time.
“Having watched him from afar, I think he is one of the most exciting things to happen to cricket in the last decade. It will be great to have him,” Mott said.
“He’s full throttle, quick and brings so much energy. He’s one of those guys that if you’re sitting there in the pub and he’s bowling, you’re watching. That’s a big thing.
“Everybody will get a lift around bowlers like him, the super fast pace gives everybody that little bit of extra confidence. He’s spent a lot of time out there and I know he’s ready to play. “
If he stays fit, Archer is almost certain to be central to England’s Ashes and World Cup hopes this year, having had a breakout 2019 in which he starred in both red- and white-ball formats.
But with his lucrative Indian Premier League contract for Mumbai Indians, Mott is well aware that the England hierarchy must be aware of such a valuable – and not easily replaced – commodity.
With England bidding to reclaim the title this summer and defending their 50-over World Cup title in the autumn, it could be that Archer is overlooked for any T20 international commitments this year. .
Mott added: “The best I can say is that we have a general plan of what it looks like. We probably won’t make it public at this stage.
“We’ll work with him through it, see how his body is coping. I definitely think he’s a high priority and will be manageable. We really Aware of how much players are playing.
“It’s not just the physical load, it’s the mental load that we really need to be careful about. When we see those little flags come up, we act really decisively and that load and stress. Try to reduce it.”
Apart from Archer, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Ollie Stone, David Malan, Chris Woakes, Phil Salt and Moeen Ali linked up with Harry Brook, David Willey and Ben Duckett for England in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
Salt is a doubt for Friday due to a problem, in contention to open with out-of-form Jason Roy, who will complete England’s group on Wednesday along with captain Jos Buttler and Reece Topley.
The compact series has been rescheduled for 2020 following the cancellation due to Covid-19 and is the first assignment for the tourists in a World Cup year.
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