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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Missing England tour of India no major setback, says Cumbria cricket star Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes is prepared to play a waiting game with his England career after missing the forthcoming tour to India due to injury.

Ben Stokes photo
Ben Stokes

The Cumbrian’s international hopes are on hold while he undergoes rehabilitation on a finger injury. And he has put aside his frustration at missing the trip to India.

“I’m only young so it’s not a major setback,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m obviously disappointed but I have quite a few more years under my belt to go.”

Stokes is now at home in Cockermouth and determined to be fighting fit for the launch of Durham’s season next year.

“I’m trying to get back to full fitness by the start of the season whatever gets done with my finger,” added Stokes, who revealed he had been welcomed into the England fold this summer, his first at the highest level.

“It’s very professional but a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. Obviously when it comes to cricket it’s very switched on, but when you get time off they let you do your own thing.

“It helped that I knew quite a lot of the players. It wasn’t the first time I had met most of them. I had played against some of them and with a few for England Lions.

“There’s the younger group and the more experienced guys. I’ve known the younger people a bit longer so it is pretty easy to socialise with them.”

Stokes revealed that his England breakthrough had come as a surprise.

“My focus was just on Durham throughout the season and I didn’t think I would get picked for England,” he added.

“When the call came from [chairman of selectors] Geoff Miller I was quite shocked and a bit speechless. It was absolutely brilliant.”

Big-hitting Stokes believes he has more to offer England than he has shown so far in one-day and Twenty20 action but he is up for the challenge.

“I didn’t bat in the first two or three games and when I got the chance I could have won a game for England,” admitted the youngster, who believes the high-pressure situation may have got to him a little.

“Obviously the first game is the hardest and after that the nerves go away.”

Stokes made 20 in 31 balls, including one six, in England’s victory in the third NatWest one-day match against India, at The Oval, four weeks ago.

And he went on to underline his potential when smashing an impressive 31 from 23 balls in a T20 clash with the West Indies.

He was the only England player to offer major resistance with the bat as he hit three fours and a towering six.

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