England vs Pakistan: Ben Stokes to miss remainder of series
England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remaining two Tests against Pakistan after opting out due to personal reasons. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the same through an official statement on Sunday. Reportedly, Stokes is set to leave for New Zealand later this week and will take no part in England's Test-match summer. Here is more.
ECB urged media to respect the privacy of Stokes
The player's father Ged was hospitalized ahead of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa during England's winter tour and has been recovering in New Zealand ever since. This is believed to be the reason behind his withdrawal. "The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Stokes family, requests that all media respects the family's privacy at this time," an ECB statement said.
Stokes has been the highlight of England's Test summer
Star all-rounder Stokes has been in sublime form for England in the whites. His all-round display helped England beat West Indies 2-1 in The Wisden Trophy series. He was the leading run-scorer (363) and also scalped nine wickets at 16.33. Although Stokes couldn't deliver with the bat against Pakistan, he picked up two crucial wickets in the latter half.
Test record in 2020
Stokes leads the runs tally in the incumbent calendar year. He has so far amassed 641 runs from seven Tests at an incredible average of 58.27. The 29-year-old is also the second-highest wicket-taker (19) after Stuart Broad (31).
Who will replace Ben Stokes?
No replacement for Stokes has been named by the ECB as yet. Top-order batsman Zak Crawley could be drafted in place of Stokes to bolster the batting line-up. Notably, Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson has also earned a Test call-up after his impressive run in the domestic circuit. It remains to be seen whether England play an extra batsman to compensate for the all-rounder's absence.
Buttler, Woakes powered England's three-wicket victory against Pakistan
England won the opening Test against Pakistan by three wickets after having staged a dramatic turnaround towards the end. The pair of Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes helped the hosts register their second-highest run-chase (277) at the Old Trafford. This was also the highest run-chase at this venue since 2009. Nonetheless, Pakistan will aim to level the three-match series 1-1 in the impending Test.