Stokes scored an England record 182 against New Zealand after coming out of one-day retirement last monthICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023: England v South AfricaDate: 21 October Time: 09:30 BST Venue: MumbaiCoverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app. In-play video clips and highlights available to UK users.
Ben Stokes says he initially feared his hip injury would rule him out of the entire World Cup, but says he is now fit to face South Africa on Saturday.
Stokes was injured in the gym five days before the tournament, ruling him out of England’s first three matches.
The 32-year-old said he heard a “pop” and feared he would not play at all in India but is expected to face the Proteas in a crucial match in Mumbai.
“I thought I was done, because it’s not good hearing a pop,” Stokes said.
“But thankfully it wasn’t anywhere near as a bad as what we initially thought.”
Stokes batted for 30 minutes in the nets on Thursday and took a full part in intense fielding drills.
Defending champions England have lost two matches and won one in his absence, leaving their title defence in a perilous position.
If Jos Buttler’s side lose to the Proteas they would likely have to win all of their remaining matches to qualify for the semi-finals.
Having been poor with the ball, England were timid with the bat in defeat by Afghanistan on Sunday, as they had been in their opening match against New Zealand.
Stokes, who spoke in the dressing room after the Afghanistan defeat, called for England to return to the aggressive approach which helped them win the title in 2019 under previous captain Eoin Morgan.
“If we’re going to go down, let’s go down doing what we’re known for,” Stokes said.
“Let’s not be timid, be restricted in what we want to do.
“We want to go out and show the opposition what England is and what we’ve been known for.
“Yes, we are a different team, we’re in a different era and stuff like that. But we can build on that.
“We’re not trying to hold onto what’s gone on in the past and everything like that. If anything, we can make that go further and further.”
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South Africa convincingly won their first two games against Sri Lanka and Australia but were themselves shocked by the Netherlands on Tuesday, two days after England were beaten by Afghanistan.
Test captain Stokes has proven to be England’s talisman throughout his career and his side will hope he can again inspire improvement.
He was player of the match in the final when England won the 2019 World Cup against New Zealand, was in the middle when they won the T20 World Cup final last year and has played a number of crucial innings in Test cricket, most notably his heroic century in the 2019 Ashes at Headingley.
Stokes, though, played down the significance of his return.
“No-one looks to one person in this team to inspire them or anything like that,” Stokes said.
“It is not a case of if I do come in then all of a sudden we are going to do well.
“It is just one of those things that gets spoken about a lot but I don’t read into too much.
“Everyone that walks out onto that field for England is a match-winner and can do something individually that can win us a game.
“We just need to tone it down a bit on me coming back in.”