Ben Stokes will be fit to bowl in England’s Test series against South Africa, after undergoing MRI scans in which “nothing really showed up”, following his return from New Zealand.
Stokes reported pain in his left knee after completing his second over on the first day of the second Test at Hamilton, and did not bowl again that day. But he was cleared to bowl after resting overnight, and bowled a further 25 overs in the Test.
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“It’s alright,” Stokes told TalkSport. “I got some scans when we got back [to] England and there’s nothing really showing up on the MRI scans, which is good news.
“I just need to toughen up I guess but it’s alright and it’s just treatment now. I will be fine to bowl [in South Africa].”
Stokes underwent surgery on his left knee in May 2016 after tearing cartilage while bowling against Sri Lanka and has had to manage the injury ever since. Ahead of the first Test of the New Zealand series, he admitted he was managing his workload because of it, and he was used somewhat sparingly in that game.
Joe Root admitted after the second Test that it can be hard to take the ball out of Stokes’ hand, even when he has a niggle.
“With Ben, you’re always trying to make sure he’s being honest with you,” Root said. “He’ll continue to keep bowling unless you pull him off.
“You don’t want him to hurt himself and he’s managing that very well, he’s being a lot smarter with it and making sure that if he is sore he’s not going to rule himself out of any games.”
Stokes also warned against expecting too much from Jofra Archer, who endured a difficult series against New Zealand in his first overseas tour as an England player.
“When you achieve what he achieved in such a short space of time, you’re expected to do it day in, day out, but that’s just impossible,” Stokes said.
“He’s 24 years old: he doesn’t have that much experience, he’s still learning how to bowl properly, he’s still learning how to bowl in Test cricket.
“I saw he got a bit of stick in New Zealand but he’s never bowled with a Kookaburra ball before, so he’s still learning and understanding how to bowl in different conditions. So you’ve got to give him a bit of leeway, understand that he’s still learning the game and still maturing as a player, and not expect him to go out and take 4 for 50 every innings.”