England’s leading Ashes stars likely to miss start of The Hundred

By Sports Desk July 27, 2023

England’s men’s Ashes stars will be assessed before a decision is made on their availability for The Hundred, but those who have had heavy workloads are likely to miss the first couple of matches at least.

A congested schedule that has compressed five Tests into less than seven weeks is set to conclude at the Kia Oval on Monday, with the third edition of the 100-ball competition beginning the following day.

Ben Stokes did not feature at all last year and England’s Test captain mentioned in his pre-match press conference he would be going on holiday at the conclusion of the series against Australia.

Longstanding concerns about Stokes’ left knee – he is planning to have “serious conversations” about having an operation as England are not playing another Test until January – means the Northern Superchargers might not see their talismanic all-rounder for the entire four-week campaign.

Such an outcome would be a blow to the tournament that has faced questions over its long-term viability, although the England and Wales Cricket Board has publicly quashed any concerns, while none of the touring Ashes squad will feature this year.

Fast bowlers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes have also had injury niggles before and during the Ashes, so their availability for London Spirit and Birmingham Phoenix respectively could be impacted.

Another consideration is the fact the pair are crucial to England’s defence of their 50-over World Cup crown later this year, as is Jonny Bairstow, who plays for Welsh Fire but may be in need of rest after being an ever-present in England’s failed pursuit of the urn on his return from a horrific broken leg.

Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Harry Brook and Moeen Ali, who has been nursing a sore spinning finger throughout the Ashes, are the others unlikely to be thrust into duty in The Hundred straight away.

An ECB spokesperson said: “Players who have featured in the LV= Insurance men’s Ashes will be assessed at the end of the series and their availability for The Hundred decided accordingly.

“Assessments are made by the England science and medicine team, in consultation with the player.”

Lauren Bell will be absent for Southern Brave’s first two fixtures, as will Sophia Dunkley for new team Welsh Fire, but all other England players that were involved in the women’s Ashes series which finished last week are available from the off.

The men’s and women’s Hundred runs concurrently, with the group stage lasting until August 24, with the eliminator and the final taking place two and three days later.

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