Stokes rules himself out of England's T20 World Cup title defence

Stokes rules himself out of England's T20 World Cup title defence

Cricket

He said he was missing the cup to make sure he could be a fully-fledged all-rounder in Test cricket

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LONDON (AFP) – Test captain Ben Stokes has ruled himself out of England's T20 World Cup title defence in the United States and the West Indies, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old said he was missing the showpiece tournament in order to make sure he could be a fully-fledged all-rounder in Test cricket.

"Opting out of the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the (T20) World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future," Stokes said in an ECB statement.

It is understood Stokes has not suffered any setbacks after briefly returning to bowling last month during a Test tour of India where England lost a five-match series 4-1.

There is no lingering discomfort in his left knee following surgery in November.

But although he has long been one of England's leading multi-format cricketers, Stokes has decided to prioritise his role as Test captain, in the hope of being able to play a full role with both bat and ball during six Tests – three against the West Indies and three against Sri Lanka – in the upcoming home season.

The first Test against the West Indies at Lord's starts on July 10, less than two weeks after the June 29 T20 World Cup final in Barbados.

That congested Test schedule has prompted Stokes to follow up his withdrawal from the lucrative IPL T20 franchise tournament by also pulling out of the T20 World Cup in a major blow for England white-ball captain Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott.

"I'm working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket," Stokes said.

"Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future."

He added: "The recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind I was from a bowling point of view after my knee surgery and nine months without bowling. I'm looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our Test summer.

"I wish Jos, Motty and all the team the best of luck in defending our title." 




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