Ben Stokes bowl: Star English all-rounder has expressed concerns with his quadriceps muscle and is unlikely to bowl at Old Trafford.
It was England captain Joe Root who announced on the eve of the ongoing third Test against West Indies that all-rounder Ben Stokes might play as a specialist batsman today.
Given how well Stokes has batted in this series, England were highly unlikely to leave him out even if he doesn’t bowl in this match. England, who have been put in to bat first by West Indies captain Jason Holder, have made a couple of changes to accommodate a specialist batsman in Stokes.
Having said that, the hosts haven’t entirely ruled the bowler in him out from this match. Speaking during the toss, Root laid emphasis on monitoring Stokes’ progress as the match progresses.
“[Ben Stokes] is in great form with the bat. It’s a great time for him to be playing and for us to be playing alongside him. We’ll have to see [if he’s fit to bowl], we can monitor that as the game progresses but there’s still a lot of cricket left to be played this summer,” Root was quoted as saying during the toss.
Will Ben Stokes bowl in the third Test vs West Indies?
England’s dual changes mean that Stokes will have to bat at No. 4 in this match. In four Test innings (out of 119) at No. 4, Stokes has scored 118 runs at an average of 39.33 and a strike rate of 64.13 including a half-century.
It is worth mentioning that the last time Stokes batted at No. 4 in Test cricket was during The Oval Test against Australia last year. Having scored 20 and 67 in the match, Stokes didn’t have a bowl as England registered a 135-run victory.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the toss, Stokes spoke on similar lines as that of Root stating that he might bowl at some stage in the match.
“It’s going to be a day-by-day thing. Yesterday, I tested out my quad and I was a little bit concerned. I wouldn’t be able to offer everything in the first innings. I might be able to rock-and-roll some off-spin if needed,” Stokes said.
Ben Stokes bowling off spin in a test match…
— Rob Moody (@robelinda2) July 23, 2020
Co-incidentally, a video of Stokes bowling off-spin in Test cricket against Pakistan had gone viral on social media platform Twitter yesterday.