England all-rounder Ben Stokes has revealed he took painkilling injections in his left index finger and battled immense pain while leading a second-string England to an emphatic 3-0 series win over Pakistan. Stokes, who was part of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, fractured his finger during the first leg of IPL and was consequently ruled out for the entire tournament. He also missed England’s two-match Test series against New Zealand as he couldn’t fully recover.
It was just about two weeks ago that Stokes returned to professional cricket, playing for Durham in the T20 Blast. However, he was ignored for the ODI and T20I series against Pakistan. Unfortunately, a massive outbreak of COVID-19 forced the entire England contingent into isolation, with Stokes called back to captain a new-look England.
“It was a totally unexpected set of games for me and the truth is I would never have played under normal circumstances due to how much pain I was in with my left index finger,” Stokes wrote in his Daily Mirror column. “The surgery was a success after I had broken it at the IPL, but it was still so painful.
“Sometimes though you just have to grin and bear it, and captaining England is one of those reasons. The finger has healed structurally, but the pain was just ridiculous for where it should be so that is why I have now had an injection to ease it for the rest of the summer.
With the main players returning, ECB was quick to rest Stokes from the T20I series against Pakistan. The all-rounder will next be seen in the inaugural edition of the ‘Hundred’ and Stokes is hopeful that he will attain full fitness before he plies his trade for Northern Superchargers in the showpiece event.
“I’ve got a bit of a break now, which should give the steroids time to take effect and allow me to play pain-free in the Hundred and then against India. Hopefully, my finger won’t be a problem by the time the India Test series comes around, because that is a huge series and one we are all desperate to perform well in.”
Earlier, Eoin Morgan seemed concerned by the slow recovery of Ben Stokes. The limited-overs skipper wants Stokes to be fully for the upcoming five-match Test series against India.
“We gave him every chance to be fit,” he said on Thursday. “He hasn’t played a lot of cricket and he’s had some R and R [rest and relaxation] at home and feels quite fresh. But the finger hasn’t come along as he and the medical team would have liked, so it’s important it’s as good as it can be for the Test matches against India.”
Stokes is not the only injury concern for England. Wicketkeeper-batter Jos Butter is also struggling with a calf injury which he picked up in the first T20I against Sri Lanka. Even though Buttler has started training, he was not considered for the T20Is against Pakistan. Meanwhile, England is also keeping a keen eye on Jofra Archer who is expected to make his comeback from his elbow injury for Southern Brave in the ‘Hundred’.
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