Ben Stokes willing to undergo knee surgery to lead England in Ashes 2025-26

England's Ben Stokes during a press conference ahead of the fifth LV= Insurance Ashes Series test match at The Kia Oval, London

Ben Stokes has been troubled by knee issues for the last three years – PA Wire/John Walton

Ben Stokes is willing to undergo surgery on his “frustrating” chronic knee injury after the fifth Test in the hope of prolonging his career so he can lead England on the Ashes tour Down Under in 2025.

Stokes has been troubled by chronic tendonitis in his knee in recent years, to the point that he has not bowled in three of England’s five Tests this summer, and appears unlikely to in the last match of the Ashes at the Oval this week.

When the series concludes, Stokes has no firm cricketing commitments until January when England tour India for five Tests. He confirmed that remains retired from One-Day Internationals and will not be reversing that decision for England’s World Cup defence this year, despite coach Matthew Mott and captain Jos Buttler leaving the option open to him.

While it is possible that Stokes plays in the latter part of the Hundred after a holiday next week and for England’s T20 team in September and December, it seems more likely that he will extend the gap in his schedule to five full months to have “serious conversations with medics”. Surgery would clearly be a last resort because of the risk attached,

“Yeah, it’s something I obviously want to get sorted,” said Stokes, when asked if he would consider going under the knife. “The time in which I’ve seen specialists and stuff like that there has been cricket around. So as it’s been manageable we’ve just cracked on. But I think that is a good time to have some serious conversations with medics around what is potentially something I could 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.”

Stokes confirmed that he hoped to captain England in Australia in 2025-26, by which point he will be 34 and England will have gone a decade without winning the Ashes.

Ben Stokes of England has his knee strapped during Day Four of the LV= Insurance Ashes 2nd Test match between England and Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 1, 2023 in London, England. at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 01, 2023 in London, England

Ben Stokes had to have his knee re-strapped on the field during the fourth Test match – Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

“I mean obviously how this series has gone and how close we were it does make you think when we go to Australia do we have a better chance than the last few times we’ve been there,” he said. “Hopefully, it’d be nice to go out to Australia in 2025 and have a good chance of winning.

“I think the way in which Australians and England players speak about the Ashes it’s obviously the big one. Don’t get me wrong, the Ashes is such an important series for English and Australian cricket and it would be nice to say I’ve won it twice. There’s obviously a lot of cricket that’s played around the Ashes as well, but we’ll just see when 2025 comes around.”

Stokes is frustrated to have been “let down” by his knee in this series after he remained in India despite not being fit to play in the IPL in order to rehabilitate the injury. He remains determined to continue to play as an all-rounder into the autumn of his career, but laughed off the idea that he could transition from seam to off-spin, having been practising in the nets.

“The time I spent in India, all the effort that I put in to get to where I was before the series was again another frustrating thing when all the work you do, your body can let you down at times when you don’t want it to,” he said. “I’ll have a better think around what I want to do in terms of the role that everyone is used to seeing me play going forward.

“It is [important to play as an all-rounder]. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. Wanting to be involved in the game is something that’s got the best out myself. And I said in Wellington after that game [in February], that 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 can get sorted. I keep forgetting that I’m ageing every day.”

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