Ben Stokes doubtful for World Cup 2023 opener

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England’s World Cup campaign opener against New Zealand is overshadowed by concerns over Ben Stokes’ fitness. Stokes, who had emerged from ODI retirement to bolster England’s defense of the 2019 title, faces uncertainty due to a hip complaint. Captain Jos Buttler, while downplaying the situation, emphasized that Stokes’ importance in the middle order makes his fitness crucial.

Stokes, who has been dealing with long-term knee issues, last played on September 13 when he scored a sensational 182 against New Zealand. Surprisingly, he was the only squad member who didn’t participate in England’s warm-up victory against Bangladesh.

“He’s got a slight sort of niggle in his hip, fingers crossed it will be good news for us,” said Buttler. “We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play he’s not fit to play and if he is we can make that decision. “You don’t want to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament, nearer the end you may need to take more of a risk.”

Buttler acknowledged Stokes’ slight hip niggle and expressed hope for a positive update on his condition. He stressed the need to make the right call, emphasizing that taking big risks with Stokes’ fitness at the start of the tournament might not be prudent, but the scenario could change as the tournament progresses.

England’s journey to becoming World Cup champions in 2019 included a thrilling final against New Zealand at Lord’s, culminating in a Super Over. Stokes played a pivotal role, earning Player of the Match for his unbeaten 84 in England’s chase of New Zealand’s 241.

Together with Jos Buttler, he managed to score 15 runs in the decisive Super Over, securing England’s historic victory. As England faces New Zealand once more, the question of Stokes’ availability adds an extra layer of intrigue to their World Cup opener.\

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