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Stokes rules himself out of England’s defense of T20 World Cup title

LONDON (AP) — Ben Stokes ruled himself out of England’s defense of the Twenty20 World Cup title in June.

Stokes made himself unavailable on Tuesday, hoping it will “be a sacrifice that allows me to be the allrounder I want to be for the foreseeable future.”

He batted England across the line in the 2022 final against Pakistan in Melbourne with an unbeaten 52. But the growing pain in his left knee reduced his bowling, and he has played only two T20s since, in the Indian Premier League last year.

He delayed knee surgery to come out of one-day international retirement and help England in the Cricket World Cup last October in India. When England fell in the group stage, he had the operation in November.

Stokes recovered to captain England in the five-test series in India this year but didn’t bowl until the last test in March, and only five overs (for one wicket).

He wants to continue to focus on being fully fit to bowl in the coming home test series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka.

“I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an allrounder in all formats of cricket,” Stokes said in a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the allrounder I want to be for the foreseeable future.

“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.”

The T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States starts on June 1.


AP cricket: https://ift.tt/32ZyfwE

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