Michael Vaughan has defended Ben Stokes following criticism from Tim Paine over his ODI retirement reversal, calling the England all-rounder “the most selfless cricketer” he has known.

Stokes’ call to return to one-dayers less than two months away from the World Cup, and a year since his retirement, has been making headlines through the week. Among those who weren’t impressed by his U-turn was former Australia Test captain Tim Paine.

“It was a bit of, ‘Me, me, me’, there isn’t it?,” Paine said. “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 suggestion that Stokes made a selfish return at the expense of others who had played over the last 12 months did not go down well with Vaughan, who took to X, formerly Twitter. to hit back at Paine.

“Ben stokes is the most selfless cricketer I have ever known .. He puts Team before himself more than any other player .. Ridiculous suggestion from Tim ..,” Vaughan tweeted.

Last week, Stokes was named in the provisional 15-member squad for the World Cup, which was followed by a tweet from Stokes himself, an out of context “lol”, a one-word reference to Moeen Ali’s text exchange with Stokes, which led to Moeen’s own Ashes recall.

It isn’t the first time Paine and Vaughan have publicly disagreed. As recently as last month, Paine criticised Vaughan for his “playing with fear” jibe on Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne’s batting approach, calling it “frustrating” to hear.