Ben Stokes misses training with bruised heel as England regroup in St Lucia


Ben Stokes has been forced to sit out training in St Lucia due to a bruised right heel.

Stokes, the England all-rounder, has carried a heavy burden in the series to date delivering 77.3 overs in the back-to-back Tests in Barbados and Antigua. Only James Anderson, who has bowled four more balls, has delivered more.

England have taken four days off since the early finish of the Antigua Test – they were defeated by 10 wickets within three days – but Stokes’ heel has yet to recover from the exertion.

He has not been sent for a scan and the England management remain quite positive that he will be available to play in the third Test, which starts on Saturday. He will, however, have to prove his fitness on Friday.

At least one change is expected in the England side for that game. With the surface expected to be the quickest of the series, Mark Wood is poised to replace Sam Curran, who has claimed only one wicket at a cost of 161 runs in the first two Tests.

While that would further weaken England’s batting, England hope it will provide them with more firepower in a series which has largely been defined by West Indies’ quick bowlers.

Chris Woakes, who has been struggling with a knee injury, had a light bowl in training in St Lucia on Thursday and it seems unlikely he will be deemed fit enough to get through a Test. It might also be relevant that England see Woakes as crucial to their World Cup hopes and are keen not to worsen a problem that might be described as chronic.

Ben Foakes, who sustained a badly bruised hand in Antigua, also trained on Thursday. The England management will assess how his hand reacts to the session before deciding if he is able to keep the gloves in the third Test. Jonny Bairstow also had a long session with the gloves.

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