ICC World Cup 2023: Ben Stokes Doubtful for Tournament Opener with Hip Injury
England star Ben Stokes could miss the World Cup opener against New Zealand due to a hip injury with captain Jos Buttler admitting Wednesday “it’s not the time to take risks”. Defending champions England and the Black Caps will begin the 10-nation, 45-day showpiece tournament at Ahmedabad’s 132,000-capacity stadium on Thursday.
“He (Stokes) has got a slight niggle in his hip. Fingers crossed that it’ll be good news for us,” Buttler told reporters. “He is working hard with the physios and we’ll know more when the guys arrive for training today. We’ll make the right call: if he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. He added: “It’s not the time to take big risks at the start of the tournament. It’s going to be a long tournament.”
The 32-year-old Stokes was selected for the World Cup as a specialist batsman after a long-standing knee injury ruled out his role as a bowler. Harry Brook could be included in the team for his seventh ODI since his 50-over debut in January if Stokes misses out. “We all know what a fantastic player he is. The start of an international career that’s been outstanding – in T20 cricket and the Test format,” Buttler said of the 24-year-old Brook.
“He’s not played loads of ODI cricket, but it’s a format that should suit him perfectly. It will allow him to bat for a long time and make big runs and that’s something he enjoys doing.”
Thursday’s game will be a rematch of the 2019 final at Lord’s which was decided on boundary countback after the scores were level after a super over.
England won the latest ODI series between the two sides at home 3-1 in September.
It was in that series that Stokes struck the highest score by an England batsman in a one-day international, his 182 setting up a thrashing of New Zealand at The Oval.
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