File image of Ben Stokes© AFP

England’s star player Ben Stokes on Tuesday pulled out of the upcoming T20 World Cup, saying the “sacrifice” will help him focus on regaining his fitness to bowl full throttle and be the “all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future”. The country’s Test captain has informed the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about his decision, two months ahead of the showpiece that will be held in the USA and West Indies. “I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket.

“Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future,” Stokes said in a statement issued by the ECB.

Stokes, 32, was in-charge of the the team that suffered a 1-4 Test series loss to India earlier this year and said the tour made him realise that he isn’t quite up for it when it comes to bowling.

“The recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind I was from a bowling point of view after my knee surgery 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 (Matthew Mott) and all the team the best of luck in defending our title.” England will be defending the title in the Caribbean having triumphed in the last edition of the tournament in Australia in 2022, with Stokes hitting the winning run in the final for a five-wicket victory over Pakistan at the MCG.

However, he has only played two T20 matches since, both at last year’s IPL.

Having previously retired from ODI cricket in 2022, Stokes reversed his decision in order to play in the 50-over World Cup last year in India, following which he underwent a knee surgery that did not allow him to bowl in the Test series against India.

He was only able to bowl five overs during the five matches in India.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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