Stokes recovering from abdominal blow as cricket takes back seat

Ben Stokes Johannesburg England South Africa PA

Ben Stokes has revealed the abdominal issue which led to him being withdrawn from England’s tour match in Sri Lanka, back when cricket was still a thing, was caused by a blow to the midsection during batting practice.

England last week postponed their two-Test tour of Sri Lanka because of the global coronavirus pandemic, a decision taken while the tourists were still in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval during a warm-up.

Against a President’s XI, England were without Stokes, who had been pulled out of the fixture with a complaint the management were eager to stress was in no way related to Covid-19.

Stokes himself needed reminding that the injury almost certainly first originated when he was struck in the chest while getting some throw-downs.

“One thing the break has allowed me to do is get over my stomach injury that caused me to miss the second warm-up match in Colombo,” Stokes wrote in his Daily Mirror column.

“I’d had a bat, then sat down in a chair and had some lunch. When I got up to move it felt like someone was stabbing me in my abdomen, it was so painful. The doctor thought it might be appendicitis but a scan ruled that out, and we still didn’t know why I was in such pain.

“The next day when I got to the ground, Carl Hopkinson, our fielding coach, saw me and asked ‘do you reckon it was where I hit you?’ And then it suddenly dawned on me.

“He had hit me quite hard giving me throw-downs when I was batting and I had just completely forgotten about it. I’m all good now and will be ready to play again whenever the time comes, and maybe next time my memory won’t be such a sieve.”

Having returned home along with the rest of the squad, England’s premier all-rounder was disappointed at the trip being curtailed but accepts cricket pales into insignificance given the seriousness of the outbreak.

“It feels strange being back at home from Sri Lanka and hanging out with the family when your body and your mind were gearing up to do the thing you love and play Test cricket,” he added.

“At this moment in time the most important thing is everybody’s health. That has to take priority over everything else right now and cricket and sport need to take a back seat for a while.”