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Ben Stokes has declared himself ready for action in England’s must-win World Cup clash against South Africa, after missing the first three games of the campaign through injury.
Stokes’ comeback could not have come at a better moment for a side whose title defence is on the rocks after a shock defeat to Afghanistan left them with a single win to their name.
The charismatic Test skipper suffered a hip injury during England’s warm-up week in Guwahati and has been sidelined ever since, but has given himself the green light to face the Proteas in Mumbai on Saturday.
Speaking before a training session at the Wankhede Stadium that will double up as a final vigorous fitness test, Stokes told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: “It was a frustrating little niggle to get before the tournament 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 first training session here in Mumbai. I’ll give it a good push but, yes, I think everything is pretty good. I am in a good place.”
It may be tempting to view Stokes as a saviour riding to the rescue – a role he has performed plenty of times over the course of his career, not least in the 2019 World Cup final – but he distanced himself from the idea.
I’ll give it a good push but, yes, I think everything is pretty good. I am in a good place.
Responding to the weight of expectation that will follow him on to the field, which has only grown with England’s struggles so far, he said: “I deal with it pretty easy to be honest, because I know I am one person in a team sport.
“No one looks to one person in this team to inspire them or anything like that. It is not the case that if I do come in then all of a sudden we are going to do well. It is just one of those things that gets spoken about a lot but I don’t read into too much.
“Everyone that walks out on to that field for England is a match-winner and can do something individually that can win us a game. We just need to tone it down a bit on me coming back in.”
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