Former India pace bowler Irfan Pathan believes England should include their key all-rounder Ben Stokes in their playing XI for their next game of the ongoing World Cup even if he is not fully fit. However, England suffered a 69-run defeat against Afghanistan in Delhi on Sunday, October 15. They will next take on South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, October 21.
While reflecting on England’s loss during a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan said: “Bring in Ben Stokes even if he is 99% fit. You need him. You brought him for his experience. They won’t have a chance to come back if they lose the next match. It won’t happen every time. In the 2019 World Cup, England lost three matches. They lost to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and one more match. They became the world champions despite that. So it’s not that everything is over but if they get too late in playing their main team and their better bowlers, they will not be able to catch the wagon.”
Meanwhile, Ben Stokes has missed England’s first three World Cup games due to a hip injury. Although Joe Root stated in the press conference before the Afghanistan game that Stokes was getting better, he continued to remain on the sidelines as well. On the other hand, Mohammad Kaif said England would have chased down the 285-run target had Ben Stokes been part of the XI as well.
“Probably, because he has the experience. He has played a lot in India. He has played for many years in the IPL. He has that experience and bats left-handed, so it would have made a difference. However, without him as well, you are not talking about 400, 284 is a moderate total on a flat pitch. They had the batting. I can understand Ben Stokes has the experience but they have players apart from him as well. You talk about Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, and they have batting till No. 10,” he concluded.