In the midst of England’s challenging campaign in the ongoing World Cup, all-rounder Ben Stokes is gearing up for a significant chapter in his cricketing journey. Battling a persistent knee injury, Stokes has made the tough decision to undergo surgery post the World Cup, recognizing the importance of addressing the issue ahead of the demanding schedule in red-ball cricket.
The 32-year-old cricketer, known for his dynamic all-round abilities, has primarily been playing as a batter during the tournament, limiting his bowling role due to the discomfort caused by his knee ailment. Stokes, who holds a pivotal role in the England Test side, aims to overcome this hurdle before the upcoming five-match Test series in India, scheduled to commence in late January.
Ben Stokes confirms that he will be "having surgery after the World Cup" 🚨 pic.twitter.com/0Hzc7CEkwn
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 3, 2023
During a recent press conference preceding the England-Australia clash, Stokes revealed the meticulous planning that went into his decision to undergo surgery.
“There was a lot of time put into deciding when to get it done,” he stated, highlighting the strategic approach taken by the medical team and the think tank. Stokes, ever the pragmatic athlete, expressed his confidence in being fit for the India Test series. “Obviously, the India Test series which we start at the end of January, I should be fine to go by then,” he affirmed, displaying his trademark determination.
When quizzed about the procedure, Stokes shared a glimpse into the decision-making process, lightening the serious tone with his characteristic humor. “Well, so we go to those meetings and generally take a physio and a doctor with me, and then those two start talking, and then I just turn up and get put to sleep, wake up, and hopefully, it’s better,” he quipped, showcasing his ability to find humor even in challenging situations.
Stokes’ injury has been one among several issues plaguing England during this World Cup. Despite the team’s struggles and their slim chances of qualifying for the next stage, Stokes emphasized their readiness to face arch-rivals Australia with full intensity. The England-Australia rivalry adds an extra layer of significance to the clash, serving as a motivational factor for the English side. “Yeah, playing for as long as I’ve played, you know what comes with it,” Stokes noted, acknowledging the fervor that accompanies matches against traditional rivals. “There’s always a bit more chatter when England play Australia… It’s a bit like when India and Pakistan come and play each other. There’s always going to be that rivalry,” he added, underlining the historic rivalry’s influence on the players’ mindset.
Stokes’ journey has been marked by numerous triumphs, most notably his pivotal role in England’s 2019 ODI World Cup win and the T20 title last year. His ability to thrive under pressure has earned him the reputation of England’s crisis man. However, the ongoing World Cup has presented unfamiliar challenges for Stokes and his team. Despite the pre-tournament favorites’ tag, England has struggled to find their rhythm, leaving Stokes at a loss for words. “You can’t live on a reputation of things that have gone on in the past, because you’re always judged on what you do on any given day,” he reflected, encapsulating the essence of a professional athlete’s mentality. “But, yeah, can’t really explain or say as to why things have gone so wrong for us as a team,” he added, expressing the team’s collective frustration.