England has a fresh injury concern as all-rounder Ben Stokes is a doubt for the opening clash of the World Cup against New Zealand. A hip injury kept him out of the practice game against Bangladesh, but Jos Buttler is hopeful of Stokes getting fit.
Injury status of Ben Stokes
Stokes dramatically came out of ODI retirement despite carrying a long-term knee injury which has seen him play as a specialist batter so far, a new hip issue is bothering the 32-year-old. While Buttler is hopeful of a recovery, he is not willing to take big risks early in the tournament.
“He's got a slight niggle with his hip, but fingers crossed that it'll be good news for us. We'll see. He's working hard with the physios, and we'll know more when the guys arrive for training today,” Buttler informed when asked about Stokes' unavailability against Bangladesh.
“We'll make the right call. If he's not fit to play, he's not fit to play. If he is, we can make that decision. It's not the time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament. Nearer the end, maybe you do take more of a risk with people's injuries, but it's going to be a long tournament.”
Ben Stokes hits back at Tim Paine's "Selfish" comment. pic.twitter.com/a2rR3RWjST— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) September 28, 2023
Brook to make World Cup debut in place of Stokes?
Harry Brook is the man whose place Stokes initially took in the World Cup squad before Brook replaced Jason Roy. Ironically, it could be Brook who plays in Stokes’s no.4 position if the latter isn’t fit enough to feature against New Zealand.
“We'll see how the guys pull up here at training today – and post-training – and then we can make our decisions,” the England captain said, not drawing any early conclusions.
“We all know what a fantastic player he (Brook) is. “He's at the start of an international career that's been outstanding in T20 cricket and the Test format. He's not played loads of ODI cricket, but it's a format that should suit him perfectly.
“It'll allow him to bat for a long time and make big runs, and that's something he enjoys doing. He's got all the shots, and we know from Test cricket that he can play big innings. It's a format that should suit him really well.”
Can England defend their World Cup title?
If the warm-up game against Bangladesh showed anything, England will play in their trademark all-guns-blazing approach with the bat. They also have a seam attack capable of ripping through opposition batting lineups on any surface.
If this gung-ho, live by the sword die by the sword approach works, there is very little the opponent teams can do to stop this English juggernaut in this World Cup.