Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes' return from injury will provide England with a massive boost for their game against South Africa on Saturday. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

England are set to receive a major boost ahead of their next ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against South Africa on Saturday. This is as Ben Stokes is ready to make his entrance at this year's tournament in India after previously suffering from a hip problem.

Stokes' injury has kept him on the sidelines for England's first three matches at the World Cup. In his absence, England have not had the best of starts to the tournament as they have lost to New Zealand and Afghanistan but did manage to pick up a win over Bangladesh.

England know they cannot afford any more slip-ups in their remaining six group stage games if they are to reach the knockout stages and have a chance of defending their World Cup victory from four years ago. The two defeats have exposed England's current weaknesses with both bat and ball as the defeat to New Zealand was by nine wickets, whilst the shock defeat to Afghanistan saw England get bowled out for 215.

England had a similar dip in form in the 2019 World Cup as they lost three of their group-stage games before the team managed to turn matters around and go on to win the tournament.

Stokes' return to the side should significantly aid with England's batting displays. His previous heroics in an England shirt prove he has the mentality and ability to perform on the biggest of stages. His innings in the last World Cup final against New Zealand remain one of the most memorable displays from an England batsman.

Despite being regarded as one of the world's best all-round cricketers, Stokes will only operate as a batsman at this World Cup in order to help manage a long-term knee issue.

Stokes had previously retired from one-day international (ODI) cricket because he decided it was the best way to manage injuries and fatigue and would just focus his attention on the Test and Twenty20 formats. However, he returned to the ODI set-up for this World Cup to help England defend its crown.

His preparations for the World Cup and return to 50-over cricket were ideal as he smashed 182 runs off only 124 balls in an ODI international against New Zealand in September, which led to an 181-run win for England.

However, a few days before England's World Cup opener against New Zealand, Stokes picked up his injury whilst training in the gym and England appeared to have struggled amidst his absence.

Stokes spoke to Sky Sports about the injury and how he feels now, stating: "It was a frustrating niggle, but I have recovered well and quite quickly, and I think I am in a position now to be available for selection."

The England star added: "At the time of doing it I thought my World Cup was over as it made a horrible noise. Thankfully we got the results back pretty quick and it wasn't as bad as we thought. It is not a major injury, just very restrictive in certain moments. The last week was about pushing myself while it was also healing."

Someone will have to make way for Stokes against South Africa on Saturday — and possible omissions from the starting 11 may include the out-of-form all-rounders Chris Woakes and Sam Curran. Harry Brook would appear the logical like-for-like swap, but the batsman was England's best performer with the bat against Afghanistan, scoring 66 of 61 balls, so he may prove difficult to drop.

South Africa are regarded as one of the favourites for the World Cup and showed why in their opening two games against Sri Lanka and Australia. The game against Sri Lanka saw Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram all score centuries for South Africa as they registered a total score of 428, eventually winning by 106 runs.

Against Australia, they put up 311 runs, with de Kock registering successive centuries before they bowled out Australia for just 177 runs, giving them a 134-run victory. However, their last game against the Netherlands saw them bowled out for just 207 and lose by 38 runs, in what is now regarded as one of the World Cup's biggest ever shocks.

Saturday's game in Mumbai will see both teams needing the win in order to get back on track with England in more urgent need of a victory as they have already lost two games at this World Cup.