Ben Stokes will not be rushed back into England duty

Eoin Morgan insists there was no temptation to rush Ben Stokes back for England’s one-day series against Pakistan and will take a similarly cautious approach with Jos Buttler.

Ben Stokes: Is back playing four-day cricket for Durham but yet to return for England. (Picture: AP)
Ben Stokes: Is back playing four-day cricket for Durham but yet to return for England. (Picture: AP)

Stokes fractured his left index finger while fielding for Rajasthan Royals in April and spent several weeks recovering from surgery before making his comeback for Durham last month.

The all-rounder has since played six times in the Vitality Blast, with a top score of 35 and eight wickets under his belt, and is currently making his first-class return in the LV Insurance County Championship against Warwickshire.

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But he will not be involved in the three-match Royal London Series against Pakistan, which starts in Cardiff on Thursday, as England favour a conservative approach over his fitness and conditioning. He will also miss the first ODI at Lord’s since his player-of-the-match heroics in the 2019 World Cup final, but getting him ready for the summer’s main course – five Tests against India –is a priority.

England's Jos Buttler walks off the field after their win in the third Twenty20 cricket match between India and England on March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Asked if Stokes had been considered for action this week, Morgan said: “No, not quite yet.

“The last thing we want to do is rush somebody back and jump with the level of intensity from county cricket to international when there isn’t necessarily a need. We are happy for Ben to progress as he sees fit, and obviously we have one eye on the Test series as well.”

Buttler is currently sidelined with a calf injury and with so much cricket ahead – including a T20 World Cup and an away Ashes tour over the winter – his case is also being handled carefully.

“We’re not quite sure at the minute, calves can be quite temperamental,” said Morgan. “It just depends on how he feels. Similar to Ben, the priority wouldn’t be to get him back as soon as possible if there’s a 50-50 chance.”