Cricket: England's Stokes passed fit for 2nd South Africa ODI

May 26, 2017
Ben Stokes Ben Stokes SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: England's Ben Stokes has been passed fit to play in the second one-day international against South Africa, a team spokesman said Friday. The star all-rounder had scans on his left knee after briefly leaving the field during England's 72-run win over the Proteas at Headingley on Wednesday, a result that put England 1-0 up in the three-match series. Although the scans were inconclusive, Stokes still took a limited part in England's practice session on Friday at the Ageas Bowl, the headquarters of south coast club Hampshire and the venue for Saturday's second ODI. However, an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman said paceman Stokes was "fit to play and is available to bowl" as England seek to wrap up the series against the Proteas, the world's top-ranked ODI side, with a match to spare ahead of Monday's encounter at Lord's. Stokes bowled just two overs before suffering pain in his left knee as the hosts enjoyed a confidence-boosting 72-run win in Leeds just a week out from the Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales featuring cricket's leading eight ODI nations. It was a concerning sight given he had surgery on the same knee last year. Stokes, in his first England match since his most valuable player-winning stint in the lucrative Indian Premier League competition, came back on later Wednesday but did not bowl again. During Friday's training session, Stokes had two long net sessions as a batsman but then, either side of adjusting the strapping on his knee, bowled just 12 deliveries in the edge of the square. But as Wednesday's match demonstrated, England can win well without a major contribution from Stokes, a point emphasised by fast bowler Liam Plunkett. "If it was up to him, he just wants to play every game," Plunkett told Sky Sports News on Friday. "If you didn't have him in any team, you'd be disappointed," the Yorkshire quick added. "He's a massive player who can win games with bat, ball and in the field. "But we've also got other players who can come in and win games -- as we've shown." "We've got people to cover all bases. If Jonny (Bairstow) comes in as the batter, I'm sure he'll perform; if not the other bowlers will perform too." This series is taking place amid increased security following Monday's suicide bomb attack in Manchester that killed 22 people. Plunkett said cricketers, in common with everyone else, had a duty to carry on and, in their case, entertain the paying public. "It's everywhere now, all around the world, so you've just got to crack on with what you do," he said. "We want to perform, get people in to watch the game and have a fun day." - AFP




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