Ben Stokes doubtful for England World Cup opener with hip injury

By Sports Desk October 04, 2023

Ben Stokes has emerged as an injury doubt for England’s World Cup curtain-raiser against New Zealand on Thursday, with a sore hip placing question marks over his place.

Stokes reversed his year-long retirement from ODI cricket in order to help defend the title he helped secure in 2019, despite concerns over his long-term fitness.

The 32-year-old has been struggling with a chronic knee condition in recent years and was selected as a specialist batter for the tournament after deciding to spare his body the rigours of bowling.

But on the eve of the opening match at the cavernous Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricket venue on the planet with a capacity of more than 130,000, he was still being assessed.

Stokes has not played since smashing 182 against the Black Caps on September 13 and was the only squad member to play no part in this week’s warm-up victory over Bangladesh.

Captain Jos Buttler, speaking ahead of his side’s final training session, said: “He’s got a slight niggle with his hip, but fingers crossed that it’ll be good news for us. We’ll see.

“He’s working hard with the physios and we’ll know more when the guys arrive for training.

“We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. If he is, we can make that decision.

“It’s not the time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament. Nearer the end, maybe you do take more of a risk with people’s injuries but it’s going to be a long tournament.”

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