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Ben Stokes Withdraws from T20 World Cup to Focus on Fitness(Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Ben Stokes Withdraws from T20 World Cup to Focus on Fitness

London: Ben Stokes, the talismanic all-rounder of England cricket, has decided to opt out of the upcoming T20 World Cup set to be held in the West Indies and the USA. The decision, driven by a commitment to regain full fitness, comes as a blow to England’s campaign as they prepare to defend their title.

Stokes, renowned for his impactful performances with both bat and ball, played a pivotal role in England’s triumph in the previous edition of the tournament in Australia. However, a persistent knee injury has hampered his ability to bowl effectively, prompting him to prioritize his recovery over international commitments.

The 32-year-old, who refrained from bowling in the latter part of the Ashes series against Australia due to the injury, had been undergoing rehabilitation in a bid to return to full fitness. Despite making himself available for the World Cup in India earlier, Stokes only participated as a batsman, signaling his ongoing struggle with bowling fitness.

Following surgery post the India World Cup, Stokes embarked on a journey to rebuild his bowling prowess. While he did make a limited return to bowling during the Test series in India, it was evident that he needed more time to reach optimal levels of performance.

In a statement addressing his withdrawal from the T20 World Cup, Stokes emphasized his determination to regain his all-round capabilities. “I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfill a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket,” he stated.

Stokes aims to use the upcoming County Championship matches to hone his skills and prepare for England’s home summer fixtures against West Indies and Sri Lanka. Expressing support for his teammates, he extended his best wishes to the squad entrusted with defending the title.

England, led by captain Jos Buttler, faces a challenging journey ahead as they embark on their title defense. With their campaign set to kick off on June 4 against Scotland in Barbados, the absence of Stokes will undoubtedly present a significant challenge for the team. However, his decision reflects a strategic approach aimed at ensuring his readiness for future endeavors on the cricket field.

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