Ben Stokes picks up form as England begins preparations for match against Ireland

Stokes’ knee condition raised doubts about his ability to perform as a versatile player, and it became inflamed during a Test series draw in New Zealand in February.

Stokes only managed to play nine ounces in two Tests against the Kiwis, but he intends to take part in England’s attack in the home match against Australia.

So all eyes will be on the 31-year-old in the match against Ireland over the next four days at Lord’s.

My knee is in much better condition than it was in Wellington, Stokes told reporters at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.

I’ve put myself in a position where I can’t look back and regret or say I didn’t give myself the best opportunity to play a full role with the ball this summer.

Stokes continues to be plagued by nagging injuries, and he played twice this year for the Chennai Super Kings Indian Premier League team and managed to play just one game for it.

I’ve gotten myself to the point where I feel like my body is back in 2019 and 2020. Hopefully I’ll be able to go out there every day and bowl like I was able to do before this little malaise, he said. We know what the problem is, and it’s a matter of dealing with it with exertion and the medical team just to get through it.

As James Anderson and Ollie Robinson rest before the Ashes, recovering from bruises, England will provide a debut for Worcestershire seamer Josh Tong.

To have someone in the lineup who can bowl at such a high tempo and can go out there and change the game, to have that X-factor is great, Stokes said.

I look forward to his participation.

Ireland have not won any of their previous six Test matches since becoming champions in 2017, but they gave England a big scare at Lord’s four years ago, knocking out the hosts by 85 before lunch on day one.

In the second inning, however, they suffered a 38-run defeat in pursuit of 182 for a famous victory.

Ireland will play without pacesetter Josh Little, who has been rested in preparation for next month’s World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe, a decision that has raised some doubts, especially after Ireland’s director of high performance Richard Holdsworth called the meeting at Lord’s not the most outstanding event.

Despite this, Ireland will be determined to try to supplement their wins over England in 50-over and T20.

This is a big week for us as a team and organization. It’s not often you get a chance to play Test matches at Lord’s, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie said this week.

I was lucky enough to be here for the last match, and of course we’ll soak it up and soak it in, but at the same time we’re here to do our job and compete against one of the best Test teams in the world. We want to focus on the task at hand.

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