Four options England may consider to replace Ben Stokes at T20 World Cup

We take a look at four options England may consider when finalising their squad for this year’s 20-over showcase.

By Jonathan Healy

Ben Stokes sprung a surprise on Tuesday when he announced he would skip this year ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to allow his body to rest and the decision leaves England with some thinking to do as they plot the best way to defend the title they won in Melbourne in 2022.

While trying to find a player that can replicate the big-game heroics of Stokes is a near impossible task, England do at least have some viable replacements they will look at ahead of June’s tournament in the USA and Caribbean.

Here are four options England may consider when finalising their squad for this year’s 20-over showcase.

*Something Out Of This World is coming this June!*

Add an extra batter to an already strong top-order 

Skipper Jos Buttler and the world's No.2 ranked T20I batter Phil Salt appear certainties to feature in England's top-order, while highly-talented youngster Harry Brook is likely to play a part in their title defence despite the fact he hasn't played any cricket this year.

With Stokes missing, it might leave the door open for England to look at one or both of Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan as extra batting options or the highly-rated Will Jacks is another player that could slot in.

England opener Dawid Malan made the most of the Powerplay restrictions against Bangladesh at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023

Try a like for like and choose another all-rounder

While none have the class that Stokes possesses, England have some good all-rounders in their ranks and can boast at having two players inside the top 10 of the ICC Men's T20I All-Rounder rankings.

They are Liam Livingstone (eighth) and Moeen Ali (ninth) and both players are likely to find their way into England's squad for the 20-over showpiece.

Reigning T20 World Cup Player of the Tournament Sam Curran will also join them, but could another all-rounder come into consideration?

Underrated all-rounder Chris Jordan was born in Barbados and will feel at home during the matches played in the Caribbean and has rarely let England down in the past when he has been slotted into the playing XI.

This was evident in the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Melbourne, when Jordan picked up two key Pakistan wickets when playing a key role in England's title success.

India lose their second after Rohit Sharma holes out off England's Chris Jordan in their ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final.

Spin to win with an additional spinner

Conditions in the Caribbean and the USA may well suit the slower bowlers and England have a bevy of good spinners at their disposal.

The world's No.1 ranked bowler Adil Rashid will play a crucial role with the ball, while Moeen is quite flexible and can be used during the Powerplay and at the death.

Livingstone and Jacks - if selected - can also provide some spinning options, but could England include another specialist spinner in their final squad?

Leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed impressed when collecting six wickets from four appearances during England's series against the West Indies towards the end of last year and selectors have not been afraid of throwing the teenager into the deep end in the past.

All out pace assault 

Barbados-born quick Jofra Archer will lead England’s pace attack at the T20 World Cup if fit, while the likes of Reece Topley and Chris Woakes are sure to play a part alongside the plethora of decent bowling all-rounder options.

Another possibility England may consider is going with an extra fast bowling option and including either or both of Mark Wood and Gus Atkinson in their final squad of 15.

Wood claimed nine wickets from four matches at the most recent T20 World Cup in Australia, while Atkinson impressed against New Zealand last year when collecting a four-wicket haul on T20I debut in Manchester.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024NewsEngland