Ben Stokes Opts Out of England’s T20 World Cup Defense: What This Means for Team England

Ben Stokes, the hero of England’s 2022 T20 World Cup victory, has made the decision to sit out of the upcoming T20 World Cup in June.

The 2022 Hero focuses on getting back to 100% test fitness after knee surgery.

Ben Stokes Opts Out of England’s T20 World Cup Defense: What This Means for Team England

Ben Stokes has informed England‘s management that he will not be selected for their title defence in the Caribbean, hence he has ruled himself out of the T20 World Cup in June.

At the MCG, Stokes scored the game-winning run in the 2022 final while recording his first T20I half-century and helping England defeat Pakistan by five wickets. He said that missing the World Cup was “a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future,” yet he has only featured in two T20 matches since—both of which were during the IPL last year.

Stokes changed his mind about retiring from ODI cricket in the summer of 2022 in order to participate in the 50-over World Cup at the end of last year. But because of his availability, he had to postpone having knee surgery, and during England’s most recent 4-1 Test series loss to India, he was only able to bowl five overs. Having opted out of the IPL 2024, he anticipates playing for Durham in the County Championship at some point in the upcoming months.

In a statement issued by the ECB on Tuesday, Stokes said, “I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an allrounder in all formats of cricket.” “Hopefully, skipping the World Cup and the IPL will be a sacrifice that will enable me to continue being the all-around player I want to be for the foreseeable future.

“After having knee surgery and going nine months without bowling, the current Test series against India made clear how far behind I was in terms of bowling. I’m looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our Test summer. I’m wishing the team, Jos [Buttler], and Motty [Matthew Mott] well in defending the title.”

Prior to his operation, Stokes was hesitant to commit to the T20 World Cup, but he stated last month that he anticipated being ready to compete. England’s white-ball coach Mott stated in December that Stokes’ comeback was “a given” if he was fit, adding, “[Stokes] gives us that ability to have a seam bowler in your top six that gives you so many options with your team balance.”

England may use Liam Livingstone in place of Stokes in the No. 4 spot he occupied during their 3-2 loss to the West Indies in December. However, Livingstone hobbled off while fielding for Punjab Kings on Sunday, citing an apparent muscle strain. The severity of the injury is pending the results of a scan. The Surrey all-rounder Jamie Overton is also expected to be included.

In the last three years, Stokes has only participated in three Twenty20 international matches for England outside of World Cups. It’s possible that his decision to retire ended a 43-match career in which he was rarely at his best. Even though he will just be 34 years old, he can still be considered for the 2026 T20 World Cup in India and Sri Lanka.

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