Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England all-rounders Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have all been rested for the third ODI against South Africa at Lord’s on Monday.
With the trio to miss the final game of the three-match series, which England leads 2-0, the hosts have called up Steven Finn, Toby Roland-Jones and Liam Dawson as their replacements.
Stokes is set to go for a scan in the coming days after complaining of pain in his left knee. Despite this, he managed to score a brilliant 101 and take one wicket in the second ODI on Saturday, which England won by two runs.
The 25-year-old, who has only bowled a total of five overs in the two ODIs he played, admitted that the team’s medical staff are unsure about the severity of his injury.
“It’s just my delivery stride, a little bit of sensation running up the side of my knee,” he said. “Batting, running around the field, everything like that is fine. We’re managing it as well as we can with our physios and doctors, and myself.
“It’s an injury I’ve had before and sometimes will just go away – there are good days and bad days, I could wake up tomorrow and it be completely gone. We’ll just have to monitor it over the next few days.”
Stokes underwent surgery on the same knee last year after being diagnosed with a cartilage tear, but he couldn’t say whether it was connected with the pain he is currently feeling.
“It comes and goes, on certain days I don’t know if it’s going to be good or not. We only really find out how it is when I start bowling,” he said.
While Stokes is expected to be fit for the Champions Trophy, which begins on Thursday, there will be a lingering issue of whether his workload will need to be managed throughout the tournament.
“We’re going to get a few more scans, to get a bit more of an idea about what’s happening,” he added. “Then the doctors, physios, strength and conditioning coaches have a clear idea of what we can do to counteract it and maybe take the problem away, which is obviously what I want and what the medical staff wants. So hopefully it will become a bit clearer.”
England captain Eoin Morgan revealed that letting Stokes only bowl three overs in the second ODI was part of the plan to “build up” his knee going into the Champions Trophy.
“We’re constantly monitoring him and trying to manage him as best as we can,” Morgan said. “There was a very similar game this time last year when he played against Pakistan and only bowled a few overs with the same injury, we’re trying to build it up again with the Champions Trophy in mind. It’s a very strange injury, he aggravates it when he bowls, in his delivery stride. He’s good to play as a batsman if need be but obviously we want Ben Stokes the all-rounder.”
In regards to Moeen and Woakes, the former, who was named Man of the Match in the first ODI, is nursing a groin niggle, while the latter is dealing with muscle tightness in his right thigh. Both players are on track to be fit for the Champions Trophy.