Ben Stokes is struggling with a persistent knee problem (Picture: Getty)
Ben Stokes feels he is being ‘held back’ by a ‘frustrating’ knee problem but hopes he can overcome the issue during the Indian Premier League in time for this summer’s Ashes.
England captain Stokes only bowled two overs during the thrilling one-run defeat to New Zealand in Wellington and appeared to be in discomfort while batting in the fourth innings.
Under Stokes and Brendon McCullum, England have won 10 of their 12 Tests and will look to continue their momentum against Ashes rivals Australia.
England have not held the Ashes since 2015 but boast a good record at home, winning four of their last five series on English soil and drawing the last one in 2019.
Despite the concerns over his left knee, Stokes intends to play in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings and hopes his spell in India actually boosts his fitness ahead of a huge summer for England.
Asked how his knee was feeling after the two-Test series in New Zealand, Stokes said: ‘I’m not sure exactly.
‘There’s maybe three or four months before we get to the Ashes and we’ve worked incredibly hard with our physios and medics to get everything right strength-wise.
The England captain appeared in discomfort while batting (Picture: Getty)
‘But it’s been very difficult out here, especially once the Tests have started, because the games came thick and fast.
‘But it’s a good opportunity out in India to get myself into a position that I feel like I don’t have to worry about my knee anymore.
‘I’m not going to lie. It is very frustrating knowing that I’ve got something holding me back in terms of my body. It’s been around for a while.
‘It is frustrating, but we’re doing everything we possibly can to allow me to fulfil that fourth-seamer role, like I was able to do two or three years ago. Hopefully, come the Ashes, I don’t have to worry about it.’
England head coach McCullum admitted Stokes was ‘not moving that well’ after the Wellington Test but is confident he will be fully fit for the Ashes.
‘He’s not moving that well at the moment but the skipper writes his own scripts and he doesn’t get a better stage to write one than the Ashes,’ McCullum told BBC Sport.
‘I’m sure he’ll be sweet as soon as that arrives.’
Speaking to BT Sport, he added: ‘Stokesy’s knee is just something we have to monitor. He’s off to the IPL where there is slightly less demand on his conditioning so hopefully he’ll be fine.
‘He’s a tough bloke. He’ll find a way to get through and I know he’s determined to lead this team to Ashes glory as well. We look forward to it.’
MORE : Brendon McCullum reveals how England reacted to one-run New Zealand defeat
MORE : Australia captain Pat Cummins to miss third India Test to be with ill mother
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Stokes is struggling with a persistent knee problem.