England head coach Brendon McCullum said that he is hopeful that captain Ben Stokes will play in the upcoming first Test against India in Hyderabad. McCullum also stated that the all-rounder looked fit during the training and felt that he was ‘good to go’. However, Stokes underwent surgery on his knee that forced him to miss a few games in the 2023 World Cup as well. He also had a tight rehab schedule to get himself ready for the opening Test of the series against India.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, January 22, McCullum said as quoted by BBC: “He looks like a greyhound. He’s put the work in, everyone knows his work ethic is phenomenal. I’ve seen him running around and I think he’s good to go. We’ll obviously make that call as late as what we need to. But he’s put all the work in, and we’ll just have to wait and see.”
He again shared, “Obviously our thoughts are with Harry and his family, it’s a tough time. It’s a privileged position to play cricket for a living but some things are more important than that. We wish him all the best and hopefully the next little period for Brooky is as comfortable as it possibly can be. There’s a chance he may return later in the tour but for now we just want him to be with his family and do his thing.”
However, England will miss Harry Brook’s services in the middle order, considering the stunning series he had in Pakistan in 2022. The ECB has announced Dan Lawrence as his replacement. McCullum, meanwhile, predicted the series to be a true test of their skills and temperament against the strong Indian side at their home.
“That’s what I love about this series – we are going to be tested, and our methods are going to be challenged and we’ll see where we are at. In the end, all you’re trying to do is get guys in the frame of mind where they’re totally present in the moment, they feel 10 foot tall and bulletproof when they walk out to play. Then it’s allowing their skills and their talents to come out, make quick assessments of what they need to do in the moment. We’ve got to take 20 wickets with the ball in each Test match and we’ve got to get one more run than them with the bat. It’s not rocket science but it will be the nuances of the game, when to stick and when to twist which will be the fascinating part,” Brendon McCullum concluded.