Stokes admits to concerns after shoulder injury
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has admitted a shoulder injury may affect his confidence in the field as he looks to return to action in the Test series against South Africa next month.
Stokes sustained the problem during the third Test against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, damaging the acromioclavicular joint, where the shoulder meets the collarbone.
It was initially feared that Stokes may have suffered a break or dislocation but England are hopeful he will be fit in time for the first Test against the Proteas in Durban, which starts on December 26.
And Stokes, who has previously undergone three operations on a broken finger, knows he has to try and overcome the psychological barriers of returning to action after the injury has healed.
“The worst bit was hearing the noise,” he told the Guardian about the injury. “I felt sick for 10 minutes afterwards and that did not sit well with the physio and the doctor. They thought I’d broken it.
“This injury is one of those that could affect how I field. With my finger, it took a long time to get back to feeling confident in catching and with the shoulder, it does affect how I dive for the ball.
“I have to find a way of getting the confidence back. But I know that when I get back to playing, the adrenaline and my competitiveness will take over.”
England lost the three-match series with Pakistan 2-0 but Stokes – who expressed his surprise at Ian Bell’s omission for the upcoming tour – feels the conditions in South Africa are more to his team’s liking.
“South Africa is more suited to us as a team and me as a player,” he said.
“There’s more bounce in the wickets and we will be facing quicker bowling; that’s where my strengths lie as a batsman.
“I think we have got a very good chance against South Africa. England have been through a transition period and they are the number one team in the world but we can compete and our confidence is high.”