Ashes 2023: England considers using captain Ben Stokes as opener against Australia

This report comes amid concerns about the fitness of the England captain, which could limit his chances of bowling in test matches between traditional rivals this summer. It has come to light that Stokes has been sidelined by a left knee injury. The Ashes will start on June 16.

A report in The Times notes that Stokes has played just one match in the Indian Premier League this season. That was on March 31 in the opening match of IPL 2023, hosted by Chennai Super Kings. Stokes hasn’t played at all since April 3. Chennai head coach Stephen Fleming said bowling is still a bit of a challenge for the versatile player.

The report also said that if Stokes can’t bowl, the team will have to bring in a fourth fast bowler. That means making room for Stokes at the top of the lineup at the expense of Zach Crowley, who has an average of 18.33 at home since the start of 2021 and has failed to reach a half-century in his last eight Test games.

It is assumed that if Stokes is moved to a higher position, Warwickshire’s Chris Walks will play as the team’s fourth seamer.

Meanwhile, Australian cricket legend Allan Border called using Stokes as an opener a huge gamble.

Stokes is such a good player that I don’t know if I would have thrown him in that situation, Border told Fox Cricket. Why expose him to a new ball if it’s not necessary? He can win games anywhere, I suppose, but we saw in (2019) how dangerous he is at the bottom line and with the tailback. I wouldn’t change where Stokes is in the lineup… He can play with a tailback, he can upgrade. If needed, he can hold end, put up a block. He’s a quality player. You’re right in the line of fire against a new ball, opening the bat, and if he’s not used to doing that, I think it would be a real gamble.

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