England’s Ben Stokes pulls out of T20 World Cup


Ben Stokes has withdrawn from the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA to focus on regaining full fitness and his ability to bowl. Stokes, who played a pivotal role in England’s title triumph in the previous edition in Australia with an unbeaten fifty in the final, has revealed his intention to regain full fitness as an all-rounder and has asked the ECB not to consider him for selection.

Stokes struggled with a knee injury last year and did not bowl in the final three Ashes Tests against Australia at home. Having previously announced his ODI retirement, he made himself available for the T20 World Cup in India but featured as a pure batter. The 32-year-old underwent surgery after the completion of the tournament and was racing against time to make it to the Test series in India.

While Stokes started bowling in the nets slowly during the series, he bowled only in the final Test match in Dharamsala. He has now set his sights on the County Championship to return as an all-rounder, aiming to bowl during England’s home summer against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

“I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfill a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket,” Stokes said. “Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future.”

Stokes acknowledged that the recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind he was from a bowling perspective after his knee surgery and nine months without bowling. He expressed his eagerness to play for Durham in the County Championship before the start of England’s Test summer and wished the team the best of luck in defending their title.

England will kick off their title defense on June 4 in Barbados against Scotland, with Australia, Oman, and Namibia also in their group.