England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of England’s tour game against Sri Lanka President’s XI in Colombo due to an abdominal issue. The 28-year-old didn’t bat at his usual No.5 slot, a position that was taken up by Ollie Pope. Stokes will play no role in the match and has been replaced by legspinner Matt Parkinson. The team management, however, have insisted that Stokes’ condition is not connected to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“England all-rounder Ben Stokes will not be at the ground today and is having abdominal investigations. Full reports are awaited from London. He will remain at the team hotel.
“To be clear, this is not a viral issue or linked to COVID-19,” an ECB release stated.
England’s team management will monitor Stokes’ progress closely and hope for the ace all-rounder’s full recovery before the two-Test series against Sri Lanka begins on March 19 in Galle. The visitors already have fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood ruled out of the tour with injuries and Stokes’ non-participation will be a major blow to the team’s prospects of repeating its series-sweeping feat of 2018, when Stokes averaged 31 with the bat and 20.4 with the ball.
The tour itself, however, remains under a cloud owing to the Coronavirus situation, with several sporting events called off or being played behind closed doors.