Ben Stokes might play as all-rounder in fourth Test against India with Ollie Robinson poised for recall

Ben Stokes might play as all-rounder in fourth Test against India with Ollie Robinson poised for recall

England captain Ben Stokes seems poised to bowl against India in the fourth Test as his side look to bounce back from their 434-run thrashing in Rajkot.

Stokes had surgery on his left knee in November and has not bowled in a match since the second Ashes Test against Australia in July.

The skipper bowled in the nets during a training session on Wednesday and could do likewise in Ranchi from Friday as the tourists attempt to come back from 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Stokes had made a "pinky promise" with England's physiotherapist Ben Davies not to bowl in India but said on the eve of the fourth Test: "Whatever way we decide to go, (if) I feel I am capable of bowling, I will.

"I think there is a possible chance but I will just have to wait and see how everything is.

"I wanted to get a long spell in to see how everything coped whilst doing it then see how I pull up. It is all good at the moment. That is the longest I have bowled in six months.

"Before I went and had the surgery I was told 12-13 weeks before I could start bowling. I am two weeks ahead of that and I am quite far ahead, but there are things I have to think about other than my knee."

England are likely to go back to their policy of selecting one frontline seamer to bowl alongside three spinners, as they did for the first two Tests, with Stokes and vice-captain Ollie Pope describing the pitch in Ranchi as "interesting" two days out from the game's start.

That would see either or both of James Anderson and Mark Wood dropping out, with Ollie Robinson in the frame for the first time in the series, alongside Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Shoaib Bashir as the spinners.

On Robinson, who averages 22.21 in 19 Tests, Stokes said: "He's got unbelievable skills to be a successful bowler anywhere in the world. He has worked incredibly hard while he has been out here.

"Not playing the first three Tests can be tough and disappointing but I've told him he has been a great example of doing the right things and waiting your turn if it comes."

Asked about the reaction to England's attacking batting in the wake of the thrashing in Rajkot, Stokes said: "You get plaudits when it goes well and a bit of s*** when it doesn't.

"It's part of it, I've been around long enough to know that but we crack on."

England will get a break from facing Jasprit Bumrah in the fourth Test with India resting a man that has taken 16 wickets at an average of 13.64 in the series so far.

India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, meanwhile, has broken into the top 15 of the ICC Test batting tankings for the first time after scoring an unbeaten 214 in the third Test against England.

Follow over-by-over text commentary from the fourth Test between India and England, in Ranchi, live on and the Sky Sports App from 3.45am on Friday (first ball at 4am).

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