World Cup 2023: Ben Stokes eyeing return to playing XI against South Africa

Ben Stokes, England’s star all-rounder, looks all set to return to the cricket field after missing three 2023 ODI World Cup matches due to a left hip injury. Despite initially retiring from ODI cricket, Stokes made himself available for the World Cup and is eager to contribute to England’s campaign. Unfortunately, his injury kept him sidelined for their initial fixtures. However, his declaration of fitness has injected hope and excitement into England’s chances.

Stokes, who last played for England on September 13, delivered an outstanding performance with a record unbeaten 182 against New Zealand at The Oval. Over the past ten days, he has been actively participating in training sessions, which led England’s captain, Jos Buttler, to describe him as being “close” to featuring in the previous match against Afghanistan in Delhi.

“[It was] a frustrating little niggle to get before the tournament starts. But I have worked very hard to get back to where I am and making myself ready to be available for selection, we have had a few days off since the last game and the first training session here in Mumbai. [I will] give it a good push but, yes, I think everything is pretty good. I am in a good place,” Stokes said to BBC speaking about his recovery.

Everyone is going to lose games: Ben Stokes on Afghanistan loss

“We are only three games into a tournament,” Stokes said. “There is still a long way to go. It [the loss to Afghanistan] was disappointing in the moment, but at the end of the day, we have lost a game of cricket in a World Cup. Everyone is going to lose games and it’s one of those things we had to deal with quickly, understand that we didn’t perform well but move on, and understand we have a lot more cricket left to play.”

Talking about the match, Stokes said that they would love to get their second win of the tournament against South Africa. “We would love to get our second win here. South Africa have been performing really well so far and are a good team. It is exciting as well being at the Wankhede, the first game there [of the World Cup]. It is generally a nice place to bat in particular. Hopefully, it can be one of those games for us where we go out and click,” he added.