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Fitness an excuse? Ben Stokes gets ready for County Championship after pulling out of IPL & T20 WC

Fitness an excuse? Ben Stokes gets ready for County Championship after pulling out of IPL & T20 WC

Stokes had undergone knee surgery in November last year and has since bowled just five overs.

Is fitness really the reason behind Ben Stokes pulling out of the T20 World Cup 2024 season? The all-rounder, who recently played in a 5-match Test series in India, even bowled a few overs despite being advised against it. So, if he could do it back in March, why can’t he do it in June?

A factor that Stokes didn’t mention in his statement was fatigue (physical and mental). The English Test skipper was in India for the ODI World Cup 2023, then underwent knee surgery, and then returned to India for nearly two months again this year.

Ready for the whites

Durham gave an update about Stokes with the County Championship underway. Surprisingly, the image showed the all-rounder bowling. One has to think: if Stokes is ready to bowl long spells in the whites, why isn’t he ready to do so for England in the T20 World Cup?

“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,” Ben Stokes had said earlier this month.

One can understand the desire to get back to full fitness, but does England really require his bowling? His batting has bailed the side so many times, including their three biggest wins in the last five years. Missing out on the IPL is more or less understandable, but leaving his national team hanging while they are defending the title is more perplexing.

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