Ben Stokes could miss Twenty20 World Cup, but won’t be rushed back
Ben Stokes looks certain to miss England’s Twenty20 World Cup campaign next month, with head coach Chris Silverwood insisting the all-rounder’s personal well-being outstrips the needs of the team.
Stokes is currently taking an indefinite leave of absence from the sport to prioritise his mental health and recover from a finger injury and has not taken the field since July, captaining an ODI series against Pakistan at short notice then making a brief cameo in The Hundred.
England have been careful to give him plenty of distance but with the deadline approaching for the next global tournament, clarity on his status will be required in the coming days.
The International Cricket Council needs squads to be submitted by Friday and it seems highly unlikely that he will make the list of 15. England are planning to name three standby players and the 30-year-old may not even be named on that list.
What is clear for now is that nobody around the team is pushing Stokes before he is ready.
“We are going to leave that one late, to give it our best chance. Whatever support Ben needs he will get from us,” said Silverwood.
“I haven’t spoken to him just as yet because I want to give him as much space as possible, but there are people talking to him outside of me and it is something we will be revisiting shortly.
“But I will not be putting pressure on him, will not be rushing him and whatever support he needs he will get.
“First and foremost my only concern is for him and making sure he’s OK. That’s the starting point I will be at and the rest of the questions will come.”
England are also missing paceman Jofra Archer with injury, with Sussex team-mate Tymal Mills tipped to take his spot despite spending almost four years out of the international set-up.
England have recalled spinner Jack Leach and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for the final Test against India, a last throw of the dice as they look to avoid their second series defeat of the summer.
Defeat by 157 runs at the Kia Oval has left the hosts 2-1 behind going into Friday’s decider at Emirates Old Trafford, but head coach Chris Silverwood has made only minor alterations to his squad.
Leach has been conspicuous only by his absence in recent months, overlooked despite a breakthrough winter that saw him top the wicket charts with 28 in six matches on the tours of Sri Lanka and India.
England have used Moeen Ali as their primary spinner for the last three Tests but have now turned back to the Somerset left-armer, and may consider playing the pair in tandem on a surface renowned as a turning track.
Buttler missed the fourth Test due to the arrival of his second child but is ready to return and, if he reclaims his place as vice-captain, there may only be room for one of Jonny Bairstow or Ollie Pope.
Silverwood and captain Joe Root must now make a judgement call on whether James Anderson and Ollie Robinson can rally for one last crack at the Indians.
Mark Wood will play pending final checks on his shoulder injury, with Craig Overton vulnerable.
“I think they (Anderson and Robinson) have been exceptional. I’m proud of the way they have contributed to the games, the way they have gone about their business and the effort they have put in for the team,” said Silverwood.