England’s title defence at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 has been dealt a blow with star all-rounder Ben Stokes ruled out of the opening match. Stokes, who was instrumental in England’s triumphant World Cup 2019 campaign, will not feature in the rematch against New Zealand due to a hip problem.
Stokes’ Struggles with Injury
Despite grappling with a persistent knee problem, Stokes reversed his decision to retire from One Day Internationals (ODIs) and was chosen as a specialist batter for England’s World Cup squad in India. The 32-year-old, however, has not participated in a competitive match since his stellar 182-run performance against New Zealand in an ODI on 13 September.
Stokes was the only player from England’s World Cup team who did not participate in their warm-up match against Bangladesh, choosing instead to concentrate on his recovery for the latter stages of the tournament. “Ben’s going to miss this game, he’s got a little niggle with his hip,” confirmed England captain Jos Buttler.
New Zealand Also Facing Player Absences
New Zealand’s World Cup campaign will also commence without the services of their captain Kane Williamson and fast bowler Tim Southee. Williamson, who made a remarkable recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in April, played in New Zealand’s World Cup warm-up matches as a batter only. However, he will not play against England to focus on improving his fitness.
Despite his injury, the 33-year-old Williamson showed promising form in the warm-up matches, scoring 37* against South Africa and 54* against Pakistan. His performance is vital for New Zealand’s aspirations of securing their first-ever World Cup trophy.
Southee, on the other hand, continues his recovery from a thumb surgery following an injury he sustained during an ODI against England on 15 September. “It’s a bit of a day-by-day process with him. But fingers crossed he’ll be available sooner rather than later,” said New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tom Latham.
The England and New Zealand teams for the opening match are as follows:
Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (c, wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
New Zealand XI:
Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (c, wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult