Ben Stokes set for ‘serious conversations’ about knee operation during time off

England captain Ben Stokes is ready to have “serious conversations” about an operation on his troublesome knee injury in a bid to set him on course for another tilt at the Ashes in 2025/26.

Stokes has been struggling badly with a chronic left knee problem for the past year and has been in visible pain throughout the current series against Australia.

Having set his heart on playing a full all-rounder’s role this summer, he has been able to offer just 29 overs with the ball and has not bowled at all in the last two Tests. Batting and fielding also appears to push him to the limit at times and, at the age of 32, a solution needs to be found.

This week’s Ashes finale at the Kia Oval, which England must win to square the scoreline at 2-2, is England’s last red-ball game for six months – a window that offers Stokes the chance to tackle the issue head on.

Stokes is suffering with a longstanding knee issue.

Stokes, pictured at Old Trafford last year, is suffering with a long-standing knee issue (Nick Potts/PA)

He had a cortisone injection ahead of this year’s Indian Premier League to help manage his symptoms and, asked if he would now consider going one step further with surgery, he said: “Yeah, it’s something I obviously want to get sorted.

“The times I’ve seen specialists and stuff like that, there has been cricket around, so as it’s been manageable we’ve just cracked on.

“I was pretty broken after the Lord’s game, but I still managed to walk out. I think this is a good time to have some serious conversations with medics around what I could potentially do to get a role in which I can bowl without having to worry about my knee. Those are conversations we will be able to have in that time off.

“It has been frustrating in the last couple of years, not being able to have the same impact and play the same role that I have done for the last 10 years.

“So it’s obviously something that I want to be able to do and hopefully I can get sorted. I keep forgetting that I’m ageing every day.”

Regardless of what happens in the next five days in south London, Stokes knows it will be Pat Cummins lifting the urn instead of him at the end of the game.

That means England are now guaranteed at least a decade between Ashes wins, having last triumphed in 2015, and Stokes would love to be fit and firing to lead the charge Down Under next time around.

“It’d be nice to go out to Australia in 2025 and have a good chance of winning,” he said.

“How this series has gone and how close we were, it does make you think when we next go to Australia do we have a better chance than the last few times?

“The way in which Australians and England players speak about the Ashes, it’s obviously the big one. The Ashes is such an important series for English and Australian cricket and it would be nice to say I’ve won it twice.”

Ben Stokes will not be returning to the ODI arena for this year's World Cup.

Ben Stokes will not be returning to the ODI arena for this year’s World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

In the short term, Stokes has to work out how to spend his time away. He and head coach Brendon McCullum have worked hard bonding the Test team together over a hectic 12-month period and now face a hiatus before touring India in January.

Stokes has an open invitation to throw his hat back into the ring for England’s 50-over World Cup defence this autumn, but insisted he had no second thoughts about about leaving ODI cricket behind.

“I’m retired,” was his unambiguous response to the idea.

“I’m going on holiday after this game. That’s as far as I’m thinking. But there’s only so much ‘break’ you can cope with. You really do miss that environment, when you’re around the other lads.

“In two or three weeks I’ll probably get bored and just schedule a squad game or something like that.”

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