Brendon McCullum raises concerns about Ben Stokes’ bowling fitness ahead of Ireland Test

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has expressed doubts about Ben Stokes’ ability to bowl in the upcoming Test match against Ireland, despite being confident that the England all-rounder will definitely bowl at some point during the summer.

Stokes, who captained England in Pakistan and New Zealand, has been cautious with his bowling due to a left knee issue. He bowled just one over in the injury-ridden IPL season for the Chennai Super Kings.


McCullum, speaking about Stokes’ bowling fitness before the Ireland Test, stated, “At some stage throughout the summer, he’ll definitely be bowling, but whether it’s this one or not, I’m not sure.” McCullum praised Stokes for his ability to succeed in challenging away conditions and inspire his teammates to push their limits.

While Stokes’ bowling would greatly benefit England, McCullum acknowledged that if he is unable to bowl, other players will have to step up to fill the void. England is already without frontline seamers Ollie Robinson and James Anderson, who are being rested due to minor injuries ahead of the Ashes series.

McCullum mentioned that Mark Wood’s condition is satisfactory but did not confirm his availability for the Ireland Test. This leaves Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Matthew Potts, and Josh Tongue as the only confirmed starters for England.

Tongue, who joined the squad as cover for injuries, is yet to make his international debut. However, McCullum praised the young player, describing him as a “rough diamond” with an “immense amount of talent.”

As England prepares to face Ireland, they aim to deliver a better performance than their previous encounter, where they were bowled out for 85 on the first morning before eventually winning the match at Lord’s. However, attention is already shifting towards the Ashes series, scheduled to begin on June 16.