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Why isn’t Ben Stokes playing for England in the T20 World Cup? Test captain to miss tournament title defense

Ben Stokes is not playing for England at the T20 World Cup this month despite scoring the winning runs last time out in 2022.

The Test captain has decided to withdraw from selection in defense of the trophy won by Jos Buttler’s team in Australia.

Stokes was the hero last time out for England, but they will need to find someone different

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Stokes was the hero last time out for England, but they will need to find someone differentCredit: Getty

The Durham all-rounder played a crucial role in the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan last time out as he scored an unbeaten 52 to guide England to victory.

But this year, they’ll need someone else to step up.

Why isn’t Ben Stokes playing?

This has been entirely his own decision, and he confirmed earlier this year that he did not want to be considered for England’s World Cup selection because he wanted to become an all-rounder again.

Due to a long-standing knee injury, the England Test captain has not been able to contribute as a bowler as often as he would have liked over the past few years.

However, after surgery in late 2023, he slowly returned to regular bowling and did not think a World Cup or IPL campaign would benefit him at the moment.

Stokes played a bit on the India tour

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Stokes played a bit on the India tourCredit: Getty
Ben Stokes calls England’s win over India his biggest achievement since becoming captain, waxes lyrical about Ollie Pope

Instead he played County Championship matches for Durham and looked at his best.

In just two matches he has 15 wickets, so he looks eager to get ahead of England’s two home Test series this summer.

West Indies and Sri Lanka travel to Britain in the coming months, and Stokes wants to be in a position where he bowls many overs regularly to help the team.

In a short statement released at the time, he said: “I am working hard and focusing on getting my bowling fitness back into shape to fully fulfill my role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket.

“Withdrawing from the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that will allow me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future.

“The recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind I am bowling-wise after my knee operation and nine months without bowling. I’m looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our test summer.

“I wish Jos (Buttler), Motty (white ball coach Matthew Mott) and the whole team the best of luck in defending our title.”

Instead of playing at the World Cup, Stokes will be raring to go for the summer

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Instead of playing at the World Cup, Stokes will be raring to go for the summerCredit: AFP

England begin the defense of their white ball trophy against Scotland on Tuesday June 4.

They then face Australia, Oman and Namibia before seeing if they have done enough to reach the Super 8s.

From there, England will be drawn into a pool of four and play three matches, with the top two teams from each pool progressing to the semi-finals.

Keep up to date with all the latest news and interviews on our talkSPORT Cricket YouTube channel.

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