Ben Stokes reveals playing through 'ridiculous' finger pain during Pakistan ODIs
"Sometimes though you just have to grin and bear it, and captaining England is one of those reasons"
Ben Stokes has revealed he has had a pain-killing steroid injection in his left index finger after playing through "ridiculous" pain during England's ODI series win against Pakistan.
Stokes had fractured the finger in mid-April while playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He played six T20 Blast games for Durham in June and early July but had not been scheduled to take part in either the ODI or T20I leg of Pakistan's tour until a number of Covid-19 cases in the England camp forced the entire squad into self-isolation, with Stokes captaining a new-look ODI side to a 3-0 win.
"It was a totally unexpected set of games for me and the truth is I would never have played under normal circumstances due to how much pain I was in with my left index finger," Stokes wrote in his Daily Mirror column. "The surgery was a success after I had broken it at the IPL, but it was still so painful.
"Sometimes though you just have to grin and bear it, and captaining England is one of those reasons. The finger has healed structurally, but the pain was just ridiculous for where it should be so that is why I have now had an injection to ease it for the rest of the summer.
"I've got a bit of a break now, which should give the steroids time to take effect and allow me to play pain-free in the Hundred and then against India. Hopefully, my finger won't be a problem by the time the India Test series comes around, because that is a huge series and one we are all desperate to perform well in."
Eoin Morgan, who returned to captain England in the first T20I against Pakistan on Friday night, had previously indicated that Stokes' recovery from the injury was behind schedule.
"We gave him every chance to be fit," he said on Thursday. "He hasn't played a lot of cricket and he's had some R and R [rest and relaxation] at home and feels quite fresh. But the finger hasn't come along as he and the medical team would have liked, so it's important it's as good as it can be for the Test matches against India."
Stokes is due to play for Northern Superchargers in the opening rounds of the Hundred before joining up with the Test squad for the India series and said this week it would be "pretty devastating" if stricter Covid protocols forced him to miss out on playing in the competition. Meanwhile, the ECB has confirmed that Jos Buttler was not fit for selection in the first T20I as he continues his return from a calf injury but that he will come back into the side for Sunday's second T20I. Buttler suffered the injury in the first T20I of the summer against Sri Lanka in June and while he had been keeping wickets and batting during training, England did not consider him on Friday, with Dawid Malan opening the batting in his absence alongside Jason Roy. Jofra Archer is expected to make his comeback from his elbow injury for Southern Brave in the Hundred, having missed out on Sussex's squad for their final two Blast group games.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98