Ben Stokes could miss England’s World Cup opener with a hip issue as captain Jos Buttler insists he won’t risk his star man’s fitness in tomorrow’s New Zealand opener

  • England beat New Zealand in the dramatic final of the 2019 ODI World Cup
  • Ben Stokes has been suffering from long-term knee issues in the last 12 months
  • Stokes was the only member of the squad not to feature against Bangladesh 

Ben Stokes could miss England’s World Cup opener tomorrow against New Zealand in Ahmedabad because of a hip complaint, handing Harry Brook an immediate opportunity to make an impact on their title defence.

Jos Buttler said England needed to see how Stokes emerged from today’s training session, which starts at 6pm local time (1.30pm BST), but added that the start of a World Cup was not the time to take a risk on a player’s fitness.

Stokes sat out England’s warm-up victory over Bangladesh in Guwahati on Monday, and it emerged today that he has been working on what Buttler called a ‘niggle’ with the England physios.

‘We’ll make the right call,’ said Buttler. ‘If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. If he is, we can make that decision.

‘But it’s not the time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament. Nearer the end, maybe you take more of a risk with people’s injuries. It’s going to be a long tournament. We’ll see how the guys pull up at training today.’

Ben Stokes could miss England’s ODI World Cup opener against New Zealand with a hip issue

White ball captain Jos Buttler admitted that his side won't take a gamble on Stokes' fitness

White ball captain Jos Buttler admitted that his side won’t take a gamble on Stokes’ fitness

If Stokes doesn’t play in what will be a repeat of the 2019 final at Lord’s, Brook – a late replacement in England’s squad for the injured Jason Roy – will slot into the middle order for his seventh ODI cap.

Stokes was limping as the team prepared for the Bangladesh match, and applied ice to the top of his left hip in the expectation that he would be fine. England’s second match in this World Cup is also against the Bangladeshis, in Dharamshala on Tuesday. 

New Zealand, meanwhile, will be without Tim Southee, who broke a thumb during his side’s recent 3-1 one-day in England.

As expected, Kane Williamson is also missing as he continues his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury.