Fit again Ben Stokes set to provide England with major World Cup boost
The Test skipper has missed the first three games of the tournament.
Stokes’ comeback could not have come at a better moment for a side whose title defence is on the rocks after a shock defeat to Afghanistan left them with a single win to their name.
The charismatic Test skipper suffered a hip injury during England’s warm-up week in Guwahati and has been sidelined ever since, but has given himself the green light to face the Proteas in Mumbai on Saturday.
Speaking before a training session at the Wankhede Stadium that will double up as a final vigorous fitness test, Stokes told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: ‘It was a frustrating little niggle to get before the tournament but I have worked very hard to get back to where I am and making myself ready to be available for selection.
‘We have had a few days off since the last game and first training session here in Mumbai. I’ll give it a good push but, yes, I think everything is pretty good. I am in a good place.’
It may be tempting to view Stokes as a saviour riding to the rescue – a role he has performed plenty of times over the course of his career, not least in the 2019 World Cup final – but he distanced himself from the idea.
Responding to the weight of expectation that will follow him on to the field, which has only grown with England’s struggles so far, he said: ‘I deal with it pretty easy to be honest, because I know I am one person in a team sport.
‘No one looks to one person in this team to inspire them or anything like that. It is not the case that if I do come in then all of a sudden we are going to do well. It is just one of those things that gets spoken about a lot but I don’t read into too much.
‘Everyone that walks out on to that field for England is a match-winner and can do something individually that can win us a game. We just need to tone it down a bit on me coming back in.’
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