Ben Stokes gives Ashes injury update and sends message to Jonny Bairstow

Ben Stokes insists he is bowling ‘pain-free’ at the Indian Premier League as he aims to be England’s ‘fourth seamer’ during the Ashes.

Stokes was visibly struggling with a left knee injury during England’s last Test match against New Zealand in February.

Despite concerns over the injury ahead of this summer’s blockbuster Ashes series, Stokes decided to fulfil his IPL contract with Chennai Super Kings.

Stokes has scored 15 runs in his first two appearances at this season’s IPL and bowled one over that went for 18 in Chennai’s victory over Lucknow Super Giants on Monday.

England’s Test captain says nursing the knee problem is ‘going nicely’ and believes he remains on track to lead the side against Australia this summer.

‘It’s been a very frustrating year, bowling with this knee problem,’ Stokes told Sky Sports. ‘Not being able to fulfil my role as fourth seamer has been very frustrating.

‘I’ve worked so hard over the last month to get to where I am now. Being able to bowl pain-free has been good.

‘We are fortunate to have a pick of a group of English players we have. I think I know where the starting 11 is going to be there or thereabouts.’

England’s Test team face Ireland in a one-off match at Lord’s at the start of June before they begin their quest to reclaim the Ashes from Australia, who won the last series 4-0.

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