Ben Stokes will miss England’s Test series against New Zealand as he requires surgery on a broken finger that will rule the all-rounder out for up to three months.
Ben Stokes broke his hand taking a catch for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this week and a repeat X-ray and CT scan on Friday revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger.
Ben Stokes May Miss Both New Zealand Tests As Well As Limited Overs Series Against Sri Lanka And Pakistan
A specialist hand surgeon told Ben Stokes that he would require surgery and the 29-year-old will now fly home from India and have surgery in Leeds. Originally, it had been thought that Ben Stokes might only be ruled out for six weeks, and therefore still be in contention to play the first Test against New Zealand, which is at Lord’s on June 2.
Instead, Ben Stokes will now miss both NZ Tests, as well as the three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. He is also likely to miss the three ODIs and three T20Is against Pakistan, which conclude on July 20. Ben Stokes’ absence will have major implications for England’s Test side against New Zealand, depriving them of an all-rounder who balances their side.
Ben Stokes Absence May Increase Chances Of Chris Woakes At No. 7 If England Need An All-Rounder
Without him, England should be able to retain both Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope in their Test XI, if they deem that four specialist bowlers are sufficient in early-season conditions. One of the two may yet bat at No 3 – the only way of accommodating both in a full-strength line-up when Ben Stokes returns at five, with Joe Root at four.
England’s batting situation is further complicated by opener Dom Sibley suffering a suspected broken finger, too. Should Dom Sibley be fit, England’s likeliest top six for the first Test at Lord’s at this stage is Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence. But Rory Burns was dropped last winter and needs to score consistently in county cricket to retain his berth.
If England feels that they need a fifth bowler, then Chris Woakes could slot in at No 7, below the wicketkeeper – either Jos Buttler, depending on Rajasthan’s IPL availability, or either Ben Foakes or James Brace. In this scenario, England would have to leave out one of Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, and Dan Lawrence.
Ben Stokes now faces a race to be Test-match fit for England’s summer opener against India, which begins at Trent Bridge on August 4. England plays five Tests against India, but, with the Hundred launching on July 21, Ben Stokes could now go into that series without any first-class cricket in five months, going back to England’s 3-1 defeat in India last winter. Apart from Ben Stokes, speedster Jofra Archer has also been ruled out of the New Zealand Tests.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had announced a 15-member squad to face New Zealand in the two-match Test series which is all set to take place from June 02. Notably, veteran English batsman, Jos Buttler has been rested for the Test series as part of the English rotation policy.
England Squad For New Zealand Tests: Joe Root, James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.