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Ben Stokes’ return date in England’s World Cup XI confirmed | Cricket


Ben Stokes’ return date in England’s World Cup XI confirmed | Cricket

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 18 (ANI): England white ball head coach Matthew Mott is keeping his “fingers crossed” and is hoping star all-rounder Ben Stokes will make a full recovery for the ICC World Cup encounter against South Africa.

England's Ben Stokes attends a practice session(AFP)
England’s Ben Stokes attends a practice session(AFP)

Stokes has missed England’s opening three World Cup games due to a hip complaint, and he stood on the sidelines while his teammates suffered crushing defeats to New Zealand and Afghanistan.

“We’ve obviously been relatively conservative with him, but the medical staff were always confident that South Africa was a game we could target. I haven’t had a report on him in the last 24 hours, but before that, he was on target,” Mott said.

“So fingers crossed, he can tick off all the things that need to be ticked off and he comes back into that side. He’s like the spiritual leader of the group in many ways, and he certainly spoke really well after the game the other day, and spoke about that need to really assert ourselves,” he added.

Mott stated that he did not doubt England’s effort or dedication, but that they lacked confidence and had fallen short in their “general attitude” with both bat and ball.

“The boys are trying really hard but the two things that we’re probably missing are the confidence – to puff your chest out, go out there and really take the game on – and then it’s just our general attitude, our ability to do the little things: bowl in partnerships when we’re bleeding from one end… and then with the bat, just being a little bit braver,” the England head coach said.

The probable comeback of Stokes at the Cricket World Cup will present England’s head coach with a big selection dilemma. Stokes’ anticipated return, which appears all but guaranteed, means Mott must decide which player to leave out.

Harry Brook has been keeping his seat solid and would normally be expected to slip out, but his smooth 66 against the Afghans was arguably England’s best innings and made a strong case for his retention.

Experienced seamer Chris Woakes and all-rounder Sam Curran are both susceptible after struggling for form thus far, but Stokes’ absence adds to the confusion.

“It’s still up for debate. We’ll have some really good, robust conversations over the next 24 hours; try and work out what that best balance is, not just for South Africa, but for the conditions as well. Harry batted extremely well and I think everyone knows his class as a player so it’s a good problem to have. Whatever way we go, we’ll have a strong XI,” Mott further stated.

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