England Test captain Ben Stokes begins rehabilitation after knee surgery

Ben Stokes has started rehabilitation from surgery on his left knee as he aims to play a full part in his England team’s five-Test series in India early next year.

Stokes underwent surgery performed by Dr Andy Williams, a knee specialist whose previous clients include Chris Woakes and Andrew Flintoff, at the private Cromwell Hospital in southwest London earlier this week.

He posted a picture of himself with crutches outside the hospital on Instagram on Wednesday, with the caption: “In and out. Under the [knife emoji] done. Rehab starts now.”

Stokes has been managing a chronic problem – widely reported to be patellar tendonitis – in his left knee for many years, which has severely limited his ability to bowl in the last 18 months. He has not bowled competitively since July 1, the fourth day of the second Ashes Test, and played the World Cup as a specialist batter.

He announced in India that he would have surgery after the tournament, saying that he “should be fine” to feature in the first Test in Hyderabad on January 25. England will travel to the UAE around two weeks before the series for a training camp, and will arrive in India two or three days before the start of the series.

It remains to be seen if Stokes will be fit enough to play a role with the ball in India. He said earlier this month: “You’d hope that it [undergoing surgery] means that I can get back to doing what I’ve been known for, which is playing a role as a batter, and playing a role as a bowler as well.”

Stokes said during the World Cup that he did not countenance leaving the tournament early for surgery once England’s elimination was confirmed – in part because he had to wait for a date in Williams’ diary. “When you go to specialists who are the best in their field, they are quite busy people,” he said.

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