Stokes coy over whether he'll bowl against India in 4th test as Robinson, Bashir return for England

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RANCHI, India (AP) — England captain Ben Stokes was coy over whether he will bowl against India in the fourth test starting on Friday after selecting a team featuring two changes, with seamer Ollie Robinson and offspinner Shoaib Bashir recalled.

Stokes previously said he would only be a batter in this series as he manages his workload following left knee surgery in November, but he bowled for 35 minutes at full tilt in the nets on Wednesday and didn't suffer any adverse reactions.

If he does return to being an allrounder in Ranchi, Stokes will bowl competitively for the first time since the Lord's test in the Ashes in July.

“I’ve pulled up really well,” Stokes said on the BBC on Thursday. “It’s another step forward for me in terms of the ball. As keen as I am to get there, I do have to be very sensible about it.”

Trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, England has brought in Robinson for his first involvement since the third Ashes test. He replaces Mark Wood, who put in a “monumental effort” according to Stokes in sweltering conditions in the third test in Rajkot.

Bashir, who comes in for legspinner Rehan Ahmed, returns after taking four wickets on his England debut in the second test in Visakhapatnam.

James Anderson was retained despite sending down 38 overs in Rajkot at the age of 41. He is four wickets away from becoming the first fast bowler to reach 700 in tests.

“If you were to have an example to someone young who wants to set out being a fast bowler, I think Jimmy Anderson is the one person who you want to be a role model,” Stokes said. “Not only the amount of wickets he’s got but the fact he can keep going at his age.

“Back in a high-workload test match last week to be fit five days later and raring to go, feeling fit as a fiddle — his wickets, longevity and his age, he's an unbelievable role model.”

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England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson, Shoaib Bashir.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket