• Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Ben Stokes not to be part of England’s title defence at T20 World Cup 2024

The ace all-rounder, who has also opted out of the ongoing IPL 2024, said it’s his sacrifice to remain an all-rounder.

England Test captain Ben Stokes bowls during a net session at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 14, 2024 in Rajkot, India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

ENGLAND Test captain Ben Stokes on Tuesday (2) withdrew from the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the US beginning June 1, saying the “sacrifice” will help him focus on regaining his capacity to bowl full throttle and be the all-rounder he wants to be for the “foreseeable future”.

The 32-year-old New Zealand-born cricketer, who played a match-winning knock in the final of the 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup against Pakistan in Australia to give his country its second T20 crown and the second consecutive world title after the 50-over World Cup in 2019, has informed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about his decision.

“I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket,” the ace all-rounder who recently led England in a five-Test series in India, losing 1-4 despite winning the first game, said.

Read: Kohli, Babar can spark US cricket boom, says England’s Liam Plunkett

Stokes is also not playing the ongoing Indian Premier League tournament. Last November, his franchise Chennai Super Kings had informed that he would give the competition a miss due to workload management.

“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,” Stokes said in a statement issued by the ECB.

Read: Ben Stokes bowls Rohit Sharma in his first Test delivery in 8 months but doesn’t celebrate; WATCH

Stokes also said the recent tour of India made him realise that he is not quite up for it when it comes to bowling, something he has not been doing due to a knee injury.

He, however, bowled in the fifth Test in Dharamsala where he picked the wicket of his Indian counterpart Rohit Sharma with his very first ball he bowled after August 2023.

“The recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind I was from a bowling point of view after my knee surgery and nine months without bowling.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our Test summer. I wish Jos (Buttler), Motty (Matthew Mott) and all the team the best of luck in defending our title.”

Stokes has only played two T20 matches since the T20 World Cup final, both at last year’s IPL. Having previously retired from 50-over cricket in 2022, Stokes reversed his decision in order to play in the World Cup last year in India, following which he underwent a knee surgery.

The left-hand batter has played 43 T20 international matches since making his debut in the format in 2011, scoring 585 runs with one fifty (the one scored in the T20 World Cup final in 2022) and at a strike rate of 128. He has taken 26 wickets.

The all-rounder has scored more than 10,000 runs and taken 298 wickets in international cricket.

(With PTI inputs)

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