England captain Eoin Morgan says Ben Stokes is still troubled by finger injury

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Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan celebrate in India (Getty Images)
Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan celebrate in India (Getty Images)

Eoin Morgan has admitted that Ben Stokes, who stood in as captain while he isolated last week, is still being troubled by his recently-recovered finger and is sitting out the T20 series against Pakistan with Test cricket in mind.

Morgan heaped praise on Stokes’s leadership after he returned from injury ahead of schedule to guide a scratch team containing five debutants to an ODI whitewash of Pakistan.

Having been rushed back to captain the side when Morgan and the entire squad were put into isolation following a raft of positive tests, Stokes has been given the T20s off in order to protect his finger ahead of England’s bumper Test series against India.

Stokes broke his finger diving in the field at the Indian Premier League earlier this year, which delayed the start of his English summer. Morgan admits the “finger hasn’t come along as he and the medical team would have liked”.

“We gave him every chance to be fit,” said Morgan. “He hasn’t played a lot of cricket and he’s had some R and R at home and feels quite fresh. But the finger hasn’t come along as he and the medical team would have liked. So it is important it is as good as it can be for the Test matches against India.”

Stokes was a peripheral figure in the series, with Sqqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory and James Vince taking centre stage. He bowled just five overs and made just 54 runs in two innings when batting. But Morgan was very impressed with his captaincy.

“I didn’t speak to Ben a lot,” he said. “I spoke to him pre-series. He dug us out of a huge hole coming back early from his injury and I think leading the way he did is a huge compliment to the leader he is within our side, how mature he has been as a leader and now a captain.

“You could see in every game the opportunities he gave guys at different stages to learn more about them as players and looking at the bigger picture down the line, as opposed to throw himself in at every opportunity.

“So I sort of sat back. I spoke to the coach a lot about different ideas, more long term. It went really, really well, it was a great exercise.”

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