Ben Stokes to play Ashes series in major boost to England’s hopes in Australia

Stokes has taken time out to look after his mental health and undergo surgery on a broken finger, but will return for England’s series in Australia beginning in December

Lawrence Ostlere
Monday 25 October 2021 17:35 BST
Ben Stokes will return for England’s series in Australia
Ben Stokes will return for England’s series in Australia (AP)

Ben Stokes has been given the all clear to play in the upcoming Ashes tour in a major boost for England’s hopes in Australia.

The allrounder had missed the summer Test series against India and is absent from the current T20 World Cup after an operation on his broken finger, suffered during the Indian Premier League. He also took the time out to look after his mental health.

“I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted,” said Stokes. “I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”

Stokes was badly missed during a summer when England’s batting in particular looked susceptible to collapse, with a heavy reliance on captain Joe Root to score heavily to dig the team out of trouble, and the team will need the brilliance of their star player to reinforce a creaking middle order, as well as offering another option with the ball.

The 30-year-old Stokes had two operations on his finger and recently filmed himself bowling in the nets, raising hopes he may return for the Ashes, which begins in Brisbane on 8 December.

Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, said: “Following a very successful operation on his finger and several conversations over the last few weeks between Ben and I, our medical staff and his management team, Ben called me to say he was ready to return to cricket and was excited about the prospect of playing a significant role in the Ashes series.

“Time and time again, Ben has demonstrated how important he is to the England team and having him available for the Ashes series is excellent news for all of us and, in particular, Chris (Silverwood), Joe (Root) and the rest of the players.

“Having not played for some time, we will move forward cautiously over the next few weeks to ensure he is fully prepared across all facets of his game. Ahead of a very busy period of cricket, we continue to remain mindful of the stresses on all our personnel, and our primary focus continues to be the wellbeing of all of our players and support staff.”

England’s Ashes squad

Joe Root (Yorkshire), captain

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Dom Bess (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Rory Burns (Surrey)

Jos Buttler (Lancashire)

Zak Crawley (Kent)

Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire)

Dan Lawrence (Essex)

Jack Leach (Somerset)

Dawid Malan (Yorkshire)

Craig Overton (Somerset)

Ollie Pope (Surrey)

Ollie Robinson (Sussex)

Ben Stokes (Durham)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

Mark Wood (Durham)

England's Ashes schedule

4 November 2021: Test specialists and Lions depart.

8-12 December: 1st Test, Australia v England, Gabba, Brisbane

16-20 December: 2nd Test, Australia v England (day/night), Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

26-30 December: 3rd Test, Australia v England, MCG, Melbourne

5-9 January 2022: 4th Test, Australia v England, SCG, Sydney

14-18 January: 5th Test, Australia v England, Optus Stadium, Perth

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