Cricket World Cup 2023: England’s Ben Stokes to have knee surgery after tournament

Ben Stokes
Stokes played as a specialist batter in the last three Ashes Test in the summer because of the knee issue
Venue: Ahmedabad Date: Saturday, 4 November Time: 08:30 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. The website and app will also have live text commentary and in-play video clips (UK users only)

England Test captain Ben Stokes says he will undergo surgery after the World Cup to address his ongoing knee issue.

The 32-year-old’s knee has been a long-term problem, with the all-rounder unable to bowl and playing only as a batter during the World Cup in India.

They return to India for a five-match Test series, starting on 25 January, but Stokes says he hopes to be fit.

“There was a lot of time put into deciding when to get it done,” said Stokes.

“Obviously the India Test series which we start at the end of January, I should be fine to go by then.”

England play Australia on Saturday before their campaign concludes a week later against Pakistan on 11 November.

It is understood England will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a practice camp before the India series, leaving him around eight weeks to recover in time to travel with the squad.

Stokes has been hampered by his knee issue throughout recent years, although he has declined to reveal more about the exact nature of the injury when asked.

When revealing the surgery he remained coy on the specific details of the operation but said he is not viewing it as career-threatening.

“I always go down with the docs and the physios and they use language that I’ve never heard before,” he said.

“There’s obviously something that needs to be operated on.

“I’ll switch off and let the surgeon do what he does best, which is fix knees.”

Stokes made a shock u-turn on his one-day international retirement to play in England’s World Cup defence and after doing so said he had a “very good plan in place” to fix the issue.

He has not bowled since 1 July – day four of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s – which has left England with difficulties balancing their Test and 50-over teams.

He said he hoped the operation would allow him to play a full role as an all-rounder in the future.

“It’s been a big hindrance on me and affected what I can do for the team,” he said.

“Obviously bowling is what I want to be doing.

“You’d hope it means that I can get back to doing what I’ve been known for, which is playing a role as a batter, and playing a role as a bowler as well.”

‘We’ve had a disastrous World Cup’

England are already all but out of the World Cup with five defeats in six matches effectively ending their hopes of reaching the semi-finals with three games to play.

Defeat against old rivals Australia in Ahmedabad would mathematically end their hopes.

Stokes said England still had a “lot to play for,” adding that games against Australia are “always a big occasion”.

“We’ve had a disastrous World Cup and there’s no point sugar-coating that because it’s the truth,” he added.

“The biggest thing we’ve got to play for is obviously the pride of what it is to put the three Lions on your chest.”

The meeting will be the first between the two sides since this summer’s Ashes, which England fought back to draw 2-2.

That series was marked by various flashpoints, including the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s.

Australia captain Pat Cummins said he was surprised by England’s struggles in their title defence but played down the significance of being able to mathematically end their old rivals’ hopes.

“I mean it helps our chances to get into the semi so that’s probably the overarching feeling of winning this one,” he said.

“It’s been an old rivalry so, if they beat us, I know it’s probably just that little bit sweeter than beating other teams.

“And the same with their history of how well they’ve done in white-ball cricket. It would be a great win.”

Australia will have to make two enforced changes for the match.

Glenn Maxwell is out after suffering a concussion falling off the back of a golf buggy, while Mitchell Marsh has returned to Australia for personal reasons.

The most likely scenario is a recall for Marcus Stoinis and fellow all-rounder Cameron Green.

Source: BBC News

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