Former England skipper Nasser Hussain reckons Ben Stokes should be honest with himself and the entire side about his chances of bowling in the Ashes.
The 31-year-old has had knee issues since February during the tour of New Zealand. He came to IPL 2023 and played only two matches before returning home. The gun all-rounder did not bowl in the one-off Test against Ireland and experienced some discomfort while fielding.
In his column for the Daily Mail, the cricketer-turned-commentator wrote:
"Stokes has to be honest. If he can’t bowl in a Test, he will have to tell England and they may have to then change the balance of the side. But that does become incredibly tricky because Stokes is two cricketers and with the captaincy, he is now three cricketers."
The 96-Test veteran added that Stokes appeared pain-free for a significant period of time in the clash against Ireland and reckons he will only bowl in the Ashes if really needed. He continued:
"He had looked as good in the outfield as I’ve seen him in a long time and I watched him bowl before play for about 20 minutes when he appeared pain-free. So my gut feeling is that he will perform at Edgbaston next week how he has done for some time now - Stokes will bowl when he has to."
The skipper dismissed concerns over his bowling following the ten-wicket win over Ireland. The left-handed batter said he never intended to roll his arm against Ireland.
"It seems moving sideways creates the problem" - Nasser Hussain on Ben Stokes' injury struggles
"Stokes did a lot of fitness work during the IPL to get ready for the Ashes and only playing in two matches in India appeared to have done him a favor.
"But it seems moving sideways creates the problem with his knee and the first concern on the third day at Lord’s came when he dived and then moved gingerly afterwards. Then he got into that position while catching Curtis Campher that clearly affected him."
The Ashes start on June 16 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.