England’s star all-rounder, Ben Stokes, is facing uncertainty regarding his fitness for the team’s World Cup opener against New Zealand. Stokes, who had made a comeback to the ODI squad after retiring, is dealing with a hip issue, adding to his longstanding knee problems. His absence in the curtain-raiser would be a notable setback for England as they begin their 2019 World Cup title defence.
Captain Jos Buttler, while addressing the situation on the eve of the match at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, emphasized the importance of Stokes in the middle order. Buttler, however, clarified that the team wouldn’t take any undue risks with Stokes’ fitness.
England’s World Cup journey in 2019 culminated in a thrilling final against New Zealand at Lord’s, ultimately won by England in a dramatic Super Over. Stokes played a pivotal role in that victory, being named Player of the Match for his unbeaten 84 and contributing to the Super Over alongside Jos Buttler. His potential absence in the opening match against the Kiwis is undoubtedly a concern for England as they seek to repeat their previous success.
Stokes last featured in a match on September 13 when he delivered a stellar performance, smashing 182 runs against New Zealand. Interestingly, he was the only squad member who did not take part in the warm-up victory over Bangladesh.
Buttler provided an update, stating, “He’s got a slight sort of niggle in his hip; fingers crossed it will be good news for us. We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play, and if he is, we can make that decision. You don’t want to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament; nearer the end, you may need to take more of a risk.”