But even after his elimination was confirmed, Stokes said he did not consider returning home before England’s final two group matches. “Just because things haven’t gone our way, we never thought about leaving early, taking the easy way out,” he said. “We came here as part of a team and we will leave here as one.”
Having reversed his retirement for this tournament, Stokes is highly unlikely to feature in ODIs after England’s final group match against Pakistan in Kolkata on Saturday. In any case, that will be his last 50-over game for at least 10 months: his surgery will rule him out of England’s tour of the Caribbean next month, and they will not play another ODI until September 2024.
Stokes was noncommittal about his future plans on Wednesday night, saying he had “no idea” whether Saturday will be his last ODI. England manager Rob Key is in Calcutta ahead of the game against Pakistan. “I’m sure there will be a conversation [with him]”Stokes said. “But I don’t know when that will be.”
After missing England’s first three World Cup matches with a hip injury sustained doing lunges in a hotel gym in Guwahati, Stokes said his fitness improved throughout the tournament. “I have taken advantage of the time between games to give myself a better opportunity [of recovering well] after surgery,” he said.
“All the work in the gym doesn’t compare to what you go through out there.” [on the pitch]. I really want to solve it and not have to worry like I have these last 18 months. From a physical point of view, I am better than when I first came here. But physical fitness and cricket fitness are two different things.”