New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) England captain Ben Stokes expressed full confidence in his bowling capabilities ahead of the upcoming Ashes series, saying his knee issue is being managed.
Stokes battled a knee injury during the tour of New Zealand in February and in his recent stint at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, where he played only two games for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and bowled just one over for 18 runs.
Despite his recent struggles, the 31-year-old remains optimistic about his ability to make a significant impact against Australia in the Ashes, which begins on June 16.
“The knee is in a much better place than it was in Wellington. I’ve been over in India for the IPL and these last eight or nine weeks I know I have got myself in a position where I can’t say I regret anything,” Stokes was quoted by the ICC website.
“I have got myself into a place where I feel like in a 2019, 2020 space in terms of my own body and fitness. I have definitely given myself the best opportunity (to bowl this summer). We know what it is (the problem) and now it is about managing it,” he added.
England start their summer of red-ball assignments on Thursday when they face Ireland in a solitary four-day Test at Lord’s, followed by the Ashes, which will begin after the completion ICC World Test Championship Final.
The aggressive ‘Bazball’ style has helped England put Test cricket at the forefront of the conversation over the past 12 months, winning 10 of their 12 matches since Stokes and head coach Brendon ‘Baz’ McCullum took over the red-ball team last May.
Stokes emphasised on plans to maintain the same playing style even when the stakes are raised this summer with Ashes on the line.
“I sort of find myself answering the same questi‘n really about ‘is this going to continue?’ But I think it’s pretty clear that we have found a way in which we’ve been able to get the best out of ourselves as individuals and as a team. That’s how we are always going to look to play because we’ve seen success in it.
“It’s not always going to work, because you win games and you lose games, but what we have been able to do is find a formula that really works for the individuals that we have in this dressing room at the moment. That won’t change because of the opposition,” Stokes said.