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England skipper Ben Stokes keen but cautious on returning to bowling in last two Tests vs India

If England skipper indeed plays as an all-rounder, the visitors will receive a massive boost as they can add an extra batter or spinner for the fourth Test. Stokes hasn't bowled for more than eight months now also underwent a surgery on his left knee a couple of months ago.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: February 20, 2024 12:03 IST
Ben Stokes
Image Source : GETTY Ben Stokes

England skipper Ben Stokes has played the first three Test matches against India as a specialist batter due to his troubled knee. He has been restricted from bowling and hasn't done it in since June 2023 while he also underwent surgery on left knee in December. Stokes also pulled himself out of IPL 2024 in order to rest his knee ahead of the T20 World Cup that is to be played in June in the West Indies.

However, Stokes was seen bowling at full tilt ahead of the third Test in Rajkot during practice session but he didn't bowl in the game. But he might do it in the last two Test matches which will certainly help England to alter their playing combination. Having said that, Stokes isn't committing to anything. "I like to jump the gun a little bit but things are feeling really good. I'm not saying yes, I'm not saying no (about bowling in fourth Test). 

"Me being me, I'm always very optimistic about most things. That will be a more detailed chat with the medical team about what workload I have done to pass me off as not being a massive risk. I managed to bowl at 100% in one of the warm-up days here which made me feel pretty good. I felt like I could have bowled in the game but that would have been stupid," Stokes said while speaking to TNT Sports after third Test.

If Stokes decides to bowl, England will have a chance of playing only one specialist seam bowler in either James Anderson or Mark Wood and play an extra batter or spinner. Moreover, Brendon McCullum has also cautioned the England skipper while also mentioning that Stokes is clever enough to know when to push himself. "Well, it's good that he's actually getting into a state where he thinks he might bowl. But Ben is clever; he's really clever as well. He won't bowl unless he thinks he's legitimately able to bowl.

"The problem would be if he starts getting into a spell and then he can't get out of the spell. So we'll see what unfolds. If he does get that bit between his teeth, then let's see where the danger lies there and try and pull him away from it. But it's a good sign," McCullum said.

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