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Ben Stokes faces race to be fit for India tour after successful knee surgery

Stokes' recovery could take between five and seven weeks - England leave for a pre-series training camp in the UAE in six weeks’ time

Ben Stokes faces a race against time to be fit for England’s Test series in India in the New Year following the completion of successful surgery on the chronic injury to his left knee.

Two weeks after arriving home from England’s failed World Cup campaign in India, Stokes confirmed on Wednesday via social media he had surgery at a private clinic in London.

Pictured outside the Cromwell Hospital in Kensington, England’s Test captain wrote: “In and out. Under the knife done. Rehab starts now.”

Stokes has battled with the issue in his left knee, which he has failed to clarify publicly but is believed to be tendonitis, for the past 18 months. It has severely restricted his ability to bowl, including only being able to send down 29 overs during the summer’s drawn Ashes series against Australia.

But speaking towards the end of England’s World Cup campaign in India after announcing he was having surgery, the 32-year-old expressed confidence this operation would allow him to return as a genuine all-rounder once again.

It seems unlikely at this stage he will be able to bowl during England’s five-Test series in India that starts at Hyderabad on 25 January. Indeed, whether or not he is fit at all for the start of the series remains up in the air.

Stokes has previously admitted his recovery would take between five and seven weeks. England are set to leave for a pre-series training camp in the United Arab Emirates in six weeks’ time on 11 January before heading straight to India afterwards.

Speaking at the end of the World Cup, Stokes said of the delay to his surgery: “Unfortunately, when you go to specialists who are the best in their field, they are quite busy people.”

Stokes was operated on Wednesday by Andy Williams, regarded as the best in his field who has previously carried out successful knee procedures on footballers Virgil van Dijk and John Terry as well as high-profile cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Chris Woakes.

Speaking about his chances of being fit for India, Stokes, speaking at the end of the World Cup, said: “I should be,” he said.

“I’ve put a lot of hard work in away from cricket to give myself the best chance of a quicker recovery and, with Christmas and everything coming up, the main thing for me is getting this knee right and being ready and raring to go for that Test series in India.”

On the procedure, Stokes, who has pulled out of his £1.65m deal to play in next year’s Indian Premier League to prioritise his fitness ahead of next summer, added: “I’ve a bit of a clean-out coming up so you never know, the body might be in a lot better position than it was in the last 18 months.”

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