Ben Stokes, England
PC ECB /Getty

England National Cricket Team red-ball captain Ben Stokes is unlikely to bowl in the upcoming five-match Test series against India National Cricket Team away from home.

England are all set to tour India next month for a red-ball series. The Three Lions will lock horns with India National Cricket Team in a high-profile five-match Test series, which will commence on January 25. The venues for the marquee Test series are Hyderabad, Vizag, Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamsala.

On Monday, December 11, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a strong 16-player squad for the Test series against India. Three uncapped players – Shoaib Bashir, Tom Hartley, and Gus Atkinson – were included in the Ben Stokes-led side.

The wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes was recalled after he was dropped for the Ashes 2023 at home and along with him Jack Leach and Ollie Pope have made their comeback to the Test squad after recovering from their respective injuries.

We never had him down to be bowling in India – Rob Key on Ben Stokes

England’s director of cricket Rob Key talked about whether Ben Stokes will bowl in the Test series against India and said that they never planned for the red-ball captain to roll his arm over in the India series.

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“We never had him down to be bowling in India,” Key said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

Notably, Ben Stokes recently underwent knee surgery and he has started rehabilitation. He underwent surgery performed by Dr Andy Williams, a knee specialist, at the private Cromwell Hospital in southwest London.

Talking about the England Test squad for the India series, one of the biggest surprises was the inclusion of the 20-year-old spinner Shoaib Bashir, who has picked just 10 wickets in his first-class career.

Rob Key talked about the selection of the inexperienced spinner and said that his natural attribute of a high release point encouraged the selectors to pick him in the squad by overlooking his stats.

“I think we focus more on what style of cricket we want to play and what do we think is going to go out there and win,” Key said. “It’s about ‘what is someone’s upside?’ It’s very hard, especially for spinners in English cricket, to judge them on their numbers as such. You’re not going to expect your spinner to average 24 with the ball in county cricket, you’re trying to see something else and back their character.

“You want to see how the ball comes out of their hand – you’re going more to the art of selection, rather than the science of selection – and you back that environment that Stokes and McCullum have created with all the other players, to get the best out of these people. With Stokesy’s captaincy in particular, your bet is often that he’ll be the one who can get something out of these players. You just want to create an environment where you think they can thrive, which is no mean feat when you’re talking about a Test tour of India.”

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England Test squad: Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes (captain), Mark Wood

Sonanchal Gautam is the Assistant Content Manager at Cricketaddictor. He is a professional Wrestling and Hip-hop enthusiast.