England’s Ben Stokes to miss T20 World Cup 2024 to work on bowling fitness | Cricket News

Defending champions England will go into the tournament without the all-rounder as he works to regain his bowling fitness.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has opted out of selection for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, the country’s cricket board (ECB) said in a statement.

“I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket,” Stokes, England’s Test captain, said in ECB’s statement on Tuesday.

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

England are the defending T20 World Cup champions, having claimed their second title in 2022 in Australia.

The ECB added that Stokes’s primary focus “is to get fully fit to bowl” for the upcoming Test series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Stokes last played a T20 international for England in the World Cup final in November 2022.

In November last year, he underwent surgery for a knee issue which hampered his ability to bowl regularly.

The 32-year-old bowled just five overs during England’s 4-1 series defeat to India last month.

“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,” Stokes said.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our Test summer.”

England will play a four-match T20 series against Pakistan in preparation for the World Cup, which will be held in the West Indies and the United States in June.

They then play group matches against Scotland, Australia, Oman and Namibia before the Super 8s and knockout stages.

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