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Ben Stokes' County Championship involvement delayed by knee scans

England vice-captain "struggled" with injury after heavy bowling workload in Caribbean

Ben Stokes finally cracked Jason Holder's resolve, West Indies vs England, 1st Test, Antigua, 3rd day, March 10, 2022

Ben Stokes had a heavy workload in the Caribbean  •  Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Ben Stokes will undergo scans this week to assess the severity of a knee injury he suffered during England's 1-0 series defeat to West Indies in the Caribbean.
Stokes was expected to have a low bowling workload on the tour after suffering a side strain during England's Ashes defeat, but ended up bowling 99 overs - the most of any seamer - across the series, and felt pain in his knee.
Having opted out of the IPL auction, Stokes had hoped to play several early-season County Championship games for Durham ahead of the first Test of the summer against New Zealand on June 2, but his county comeback is on hold until the results of his scan.
"I think it was pretty obvious that I was struggling with my knee a bit out in the Caribbean," Stokes said on the Round the Wicket podcast.
"At the moment there is no training," he said. "So I will go and get the scans and then we can find out what's going on, and then hopefully can make a plan from there."
None of the centrally-contracted players who made a Test appearance on the West Indies tour are expected to play in the first round of Championship games, with the majority made unavailable by the ECB.
Zak Crawley was initially made available for selection for Kent's opening-round fixture away at Essex, but will instead make his return against Lancashire next week. "After discussions between the player and the club's coaching team, Zak Crawley will not be selected for this match, having only returned from England duty in the Caribbean in the past few days," a statement said.
Brydon Carse, Stokes' Durham team-mate, will also miss the start of the county season as he continues his recovery from the injury he suffered on England Lions' tour of Australia, which ruled him out of a Big Bash stint with Perth Scorchers.