England all-rounder Ben Stokes has opted out of selection for this year's Twenty20 World Cup to focus on regaining his fitness ahead of the summer's test fixtures, the country's cricket board (ECB) said in a statement on Tuesday.

England are the defending T20 World Cup champions, having claimed their second title in 2022 in Australia.

The ECB added that Stokes's primary focus "is to get fully fit to bowl" for the upcoming test series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

In November, Stokes underwent surgery for a knee issue which hampered his ability to bowl regularly.

"I'm working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket," Stokes, England's test captain, said in a statement.

"Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future."

The 2024 T20 World Cup will be held in the West Indies and the United States in June.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson and Toby Davis)