'Me, me, me, I’ll pick and choose' - Paine slams Stokes for retirement U-turn

The former Australian skipper indirectly accused the England allrounder of selfish attitude and entitlement behind the call to revoke the 50-overs exit. 
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England fans maybe excited to have their 2019 World Cup hero Ben Stokes back for the looming edition of cricket's 50-overs showpiece in India, but Ashes rival Tim Paine feels the decision to revoke his ODI retirement reflects on a selfish and entitled attitude. 

Paine directed the attention towards the rest of England players putting in the hard yards in the One-Day game over the past year since Stokes' premature call to move on. The former Aussie skipper believes it's unfair on other of three lions' World Cup hopefuls for the Durham cricketer to walk back in at their expense. 

The return of Stokes did result in a major casualty in the England camp, with chief selector Luke Wright confirming the absence of rising young middle-order bat Harry Brook from the preliminary squad announced for the World Cup. 

Wright insisted the decision to leave out Brook was the "hardest" even as celebrations continued over Stokes' return for the quadrennial event in October-November. 

Paine critical of Stokes for World Cup U-turn 

"Ben Stokes coming out of one day retirement, I found that interesting," Paine told SEN Tassie. "It was a bit of, ‘Me, me, me’, there isn’t it? It was, ‘I’ll pick and I’ll choose where I want to play and when I want to play’, and, ‘I’ll play in the big tournaments’."

"The guys who played for 12 months, ‘Sorry, thanks. But can you go and sit on the bench because I want to play now?’," he added. 

At the point of announcing his decision last summer, Stokes had indicated not even the attraction of a coming World Cup would dissuade him from his call to quit the 50-overs format and prolong his stint in Tests and T20Is. 

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The popular cricketer's move was taken for a direct indictment of where the ODI game stands in priority for players and its worrisome future in an extremely crowded cricket calendar, leading contemporary players to the brink of mental and physical burnout. 

However, the England camp never lost hopes of Stokes coming back for the World Cup. As early as November last year, there were discussions between the team management and the player about his possible return. Even in press conferences, the question of taking that elusive U-turn was posed quite regularly to him. 

At that point, the player refused to budge. But England's immediate Test calendar - no fixtures for next six months until the India tour in early 2024 - perhaps forced him to rethink his decision and commit to the cause, starting with One-Day games against New Zealand.