Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Manchester [UK], August 5 (ANI): Ahead of the first Test match against Pakistan, England skipper Joe Root needs more clarity on all-rounder Ben Stokes readiness to feature as a front-line seam option before picking the side for the series opener.

Stokes produced one of the finest all-round performances of all time in the second Test against West Indies, scoring 254 runs across two innings and chipping in with three vital wickets in England's series-leveling victory.

However, he pulled up mid-over late in the game, after feeling a niggle in his quad, and played as a specialist batsman in the third Test, with Zak Crawley sitting out to allow Chris Woakes to feature as an extra seamer.

"Luckily, we're in a position where we can name the same squad of 14 as the last game, but we still need to know a little bit more about where Ben's at. Unfortunately because of the weather today he wasn't able to bowl outside. So we will wait on that throughout the night and make a decision in the morning, ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.

"With that squad of players, we've got a number of different options, we've got everything to cover the conditions and the pitch, and whatever that throws at us, we feel like we'll have an answer for it," he added.

There's no question that Stokes will feature in the match in some capacity, but Root admitted that his hunger for training, and a proven willingness to play on through pain, has sometimes created a problem when attempting to assess the extent of any given injury.

"It's like telling him after nine overs on the bounce, not to bowl. Trying to take the ball out of his hand is very difficult. He's so committed to the team and to the cause that he will always put his body on the line," Root said.

"But I suppose, the more he's played, and the more mature he's got, he has got better at understanding that there are limitations to what he can do sometimes, even though those limitations are probably further for him then a lot of other players," he added.

The first Test of the three-match series will be played later in the day at Old Trafford in Manchester. (ANI)

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