Ben Stokes has been ruled out of England’s World Cup opener against New Zealand on Thursday in Ahmedabad due to an injury. Stokes, who was named Player of the Match in the same teams’ 2019 final, came out of ODI retirement in August despite a long-standing knee ailment and is not anticipated to bowl a ball at the World Cup, having made himself available only as a specialist batsman.
However, he did not play in England’s warm-up game against Bangladesh in Guwahati on Monday due to a hip injury. England captain Jos Buttler stated ahead of their penultimate training session before Thursday’s opener against New Zealand that they would not “take big risks” with players’ health this early in the competition.
“He’s got a slight niggle with his hip,” Buttler said of Stokes’ absence against Bangladesh. “But we’re crossing our fingers that it’ll be good news for us.” We’ll see what happens. He’s been working hard with the physios, and we’ll find out more when the players arrive for practice today.
“We’ll make the right decision.” He’s not fit to play if he’s not physically fit. We can make that decision if he is. At the outset of the tournament, it is not the time to take major risks on someone. Near the end, you might take greater chances with people’s ailments, but it’ll be a lengthy tournament.”
Ben Stokes may miss the first match of ICC World Cup 2023
On his return to ODI cricket, Stokes scored 182 against New Zealand at The Oval in mid-September in only his third innings. He was rested for the series finale at Lord’s, and he was not scheduled to play in either of England’s warm-up games in Guwahati; the first, against India, was rained out after England had chosen a 13-man squad at the toss.
After training at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Wednesday night, England will select their starting XI for the first encounter. “We’ll see how the guys pull up here at training today – and post-training – and then we can make our decisions,” added Buttler.
If Stokes is deemed unable to play on Thursday, he would most likely be replaced at No. 4 by Harry Brook, who batted in that position in the warm-up against Bangladesh and is England’s designated spare batter. Brook has only played six One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and scored 123 runs, but England is optimistic he can translate his Test and T20 success to the 50-over format.
“We all know what a fantastic player he is,” remarked Buttler of Brook. “He’s at the start of an international career that has been outstanding in both T20 and Test cricket.” He hasn’t played many ODIs, but it’s a format that should fit him wonderfully.
“It’ll allow him to bat for a long time and hit big runs, which he enjoys doing.” He has all the shots, and we know from Test cricket that he can bat long. It’s a format that should work well for him.”