Brendon McCullum gives major update on Ben Stokes’ availablity for India Test series

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Ben Stokes looks ready to lead England at the start of its test cricket series against India, with coach Brendon McCullum saying Monday his captain “looks like a greyhound.”

“He’s stripping fit,” McCullum said of Stokes, who underwent knee surgery at the end of November after playing for England at the Cricket World Cup.

The five-match series begins Thursday with the first test in Hyderabad. McCullum stopped short of confirming Stokes as a definite starter but said he has “put all the work in.”

“He’s put the hard work in and everyone knows his work ethic is phenomenal,” McCullum said. “I’ve seen him running around and I think he’s good to go. We’ll obviously make that call as late as what we need to.”

Stokes is not ready to resume bowling so will be a specialist batter, if he plays.

It will be England’s first test match in almost six months and it’s quite the challenge, with the Indians having lost just three matches out of 46 since they were last beaten in a home series — to England in 2012.

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