Major boost for England, Ben Stokes declares himself fit to bowl in first Ashes Test

It has been a while since Stokes last bowled in a competitive match with his last delivery being on April 3 during his limited participation in the IPL season with the Chennai Super Kings
 
Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes has announced his readiness to bowl in the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston after undergoing training with his knees heavily strapped on each of England's three practice days. In England's nets session on Thursday, Stokes altered his batting slot to prioritize bowling around four overs on an outfield training strip under the supervision of bowling coach David Saker.

It has been a while since Stokes last bowled in a competitive match with his last delivery being on April 3 during his limited participation in the IPL season with the Chennai Super Kings. Additionally, he hasn't bowled in a first-class match since England's loss in Wellington approximately four months ago.

Although Stokes has received a diagnosis for his persistent left-knee injury, he has chosen not to disclose specific details publicly. He did receive a cortisone injection before heading to India for the IPL and his fitness status during the tournament was kept confidential by the CSK team.

Ben Stokes gradually increased his bowling workload to prep up for the Test

Stokes said at his pre-match press conference, "The last three days have been really good for my confidence. I've bowled every day so far and been able to run in with more intensity day by day. I've got myself in a real good place to be able to bowl."

When asked if he would consider restraining himself to preserve his ability to contribute with the ball throughout the series, Stokes responded, "I give 100 percent of myself all the time."

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Previously, Stokes achieved a unique distinction in Test history by captaining a victorious team without delivering a ball, facing a delivery or assuming wicketkeeping duties during England's triumph over Ireland at Lord's earlier this month. However, he has gradually increased his bowling workload since then.

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