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Ben Stokes: England Test captain has 'very good plan' for knee injury

Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes (right) trained with the England one-day team in Cardiff on Thursday

Ben Stokes says there is a "very good plan in place" to attempt to fix the long-term problem with his left knee.

The England Test captain has ended his one-day retirement to play in the World Cup in India in October and November.

Stokes, 32, will use the time between the World Cup and the Tests in India in January to address the knee issue, which is preventing him from bowling.

"I know what's going to happen, I just don't think now is right time to say what I'm doing," he told BBC Sport.

Stokes retired from one-day internationals last summer, but is now due to make his return in the opener to a four-match series against New Zealand in Cardiff on Friday.

Before the end of the Ashes, Stokes addressed questions about his potential participation in the World Cup by saying he would take a break from cricket to have "serious conversations" about how to rectify the knee problem.

However, it has since emerged that discussions over his return for the World Cup began long before it was announced in August.

And, speaking on Thursday, Stokes revealed his comments during the Ashes were made simply to "stop everyone asking me" about the World Cup.

"The best way was just to say something and they had something to write about. It worked," said Stokes.

England's defence of the World Cup they won in 2019 begins against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on 5 October.

The final is in the same city on 19 November, meaning England will have at least two months before the first of five Tests in India on 25 January.

"There's actually quite a long time off after the World Cup," added Stokes, who did not bowl in any of the last three Ashes Tests.

"I've been having some good conversations with some specialists. There is a plan in place.

"When we do what we need to do to give myself a chance of getting back to being a genuine all-rounder there will be a time when I can say what I'm doing.

"It's nice knowing after the World Cup we've got something, a really good plan we can do and we can stick to. I want to be playing next summer as a genuine all-rounder. This winter is all about playing this World Cup, then getting this knee sorted."

Stokes, who was player of the match in the 2019 final, has been picked for the 2023 tournament as a specialist batter only.

After Stokes' return had been confirmed, white-ball captain Jos Buttler admitted the two had been in discussion for "a while".

"The nice thing was there wasn't any pressure put on me to make a decision quickly," said Stokes.

"Having a chance to play in another World Cup is great, but going there as world champions and trying to retain it is something that was quite appealing to me

"I had to tell Jos that if you want to make that decision and pick me you have to make that decision on the basis of me not bowling a ball out there.

"I was very clear with where I'm at with my body and what I felt I can offer the team. It was nice to know from Jos that he didn't think to long that, even if I am just there as a batter, he'd pick me."

Stokes' return has meant there is no place in England's original squad for the New Zealand series for Harry Brook. When that party was named in August, selector Luke Wright said it would be the same 15 players that would travel to the World Cup.

However, Buttler and captain Matthew Mott have hinted England could make changes up to the deadline on 28 September, and Brook has since been called up for the New Zealand series as cover for the injured Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, whose wife is due to give birth.

"If there is a competition for places and there is pressure on individuals to perform to get their spot, that's a sign you're in a very, very good team," said Stokes.

"You don't want selections to be easy, because then you know your strength in depth isn't as strong as other teams.

"It's a healthy place to be in as a team when everyone has a little bit of pressure to perform before the final World Cup squad gets announced."