Ben Stokes is set to miss a chunk of England’s summer schedule as he requires surgery on his fractured left index finger which will sideline the all-rounder for up to 12 weeks.
Stokes suffered the injury while fielding for Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League season-opener against Punjab Kings earlier this week, with X-rays and scans revealing the extent of the damage and the necessity to go under the knife.
He has remained in India this week but is preparing to head back to the UK on Saturday and then have an operation 48 hours later before the start of a lengthy rehabilitation process.
An England and Wales Cricket Board statement said: “England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be out for up to 12 weeks after a repeat X-ray and CT scan on Thursday revealed that he has a fracture of his left index finger.
“Stokes, who is currently in India with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, will fly home (on Saturday). He will have surgery in Leeds on Monday.”
The ECB’s announcement looks set to draw a line through Stokes’ availability until mid-July, meaning he would miss two Tests against New Zealand in June while he is doubtful for white-ball series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The start of The Hundred – Stokes is signed to Northern Superchargers, who play their first game on July 24 – and a five-Test series against India beginning on August 4 are likelier to be on the 29-year-old’s radar for a return.
His injury happened when he completed a catch in the deep to see off veteran opener Chris Gayle on Monday, diving forwards to cling on in the 10th over as he made amends for his earlier drop of the powerhouse West Indies batsman.
Stokes shook his left hand in distress after climbing back to his feet before briefly leaving the field for treatment and, having already sent down one over, he did not bowl for the remainder of the innings in Mumbai.
He opened the innings but recorded a three-ball duck as the Royals crashed to a narrow four-run defeat, which was compounded by the news they will miss their premier all-rounder for the rest of this year’s tournament.