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Monday, June 17, 2024

Stokes injury worry ahead of England’s Cricket World Cup opener

Captain Jos Buttler feels “it’s not the time to take big risks” with Ben Stokes’ fitness ahead of England’s World Cup opener against New Zealand on Thursday.

Stokes, who reversed his decision to retire from one-day internationals earlier this year, is suffering with a hip problem and may see his tournament debut delayed as England look to repeat their remarkable 2019 final victory against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad. 

After not featuring in England’s warm-up encounter against Bangladesh, Stokes has not played since smashing 182 in the third ODI against New Zealand at Lord’s on September 13.

The Durham all-rounder has suffered with a chronic knee problem for some time and Buttler would rather tread carefully rather than risk him early in the tournament.

He said: “It’s not the time to take big risks on someone.

“Nearer the end, maybe you do take more of a risk with people’s injuries, but it’s going to be a long tournament.

“He’s got a slight niggle with his hip.

“But fingers crossed that it’ll be good news for us. He’s working hard with the physios and we’ll know more when the guys arrive for training.

“We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. If he is, we can make that decision.”

If Stokes is ruled out, it will likely offer a chance to Yorkshire batter Harry Brook.

Buttler added: “We know what a fantastic player he is. He’s not played loads of ODI cricket, but it’s a format that should suit him perfectly. 

“It will allow him to bat for a long time and make big runs, and that’s something he enjoys doing. He’s got all the shots, he can play big innings, so it’s a format that should suit him really well.”

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