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England’s test cricket captain Ben Stokes has opted out of selection for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies, as announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board on Tuesday. Stokes, who pulled out of the Indian Premier League T20 tournament in November to focus on managing his workload and fitness, aims to fully recover and be able to bowl in all formats of the game in the future.

In a statement released by the ECB, Stokes expressed his commitment to building his bowling fitness to be an all-rounder in all forms of cricket, indicating that stepping back from the IPL and World Cup is a sacrifice he hopes will benefit his future career. The 32-year-old all-rounder last played for England during the Test series in India, where his lack of bowling practice was evident due to his knee surgery and prolonged absence from bowling. He is now looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before England’s Test summer.

Stokes has only played three T20 internationals for England outside of World Cups in the last three years, with his most memorable performance coming during the 2022 T20 World Cup where he scored the winning runs in the final against Pakistan. This year, England’s title defense will begin on June 4 against Scotland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, followed by matches against Australia, Oman, and Namibia in Barbados and Antigua before progressing to the Super 8s and knockouts stages.

The 2024 T20 World Cup will see a record 20 teams competing, an increase from the 16 teams that participated in the 2022 edition. The tournament will take place across three venues in the USA and six in the Caribbean, with expectations of a highly competitive and exciting competition. Stokes’ decision to focus on his recovery and preparations for the upcoming Test matches reflects his dedication to the sport and commitment to performing at his best in all formats of cricket. England will look to other talented players to step up and defend their title in his absence.

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