England all-rounder Ben Stokes will return to international cricket for the upcoming Ashes 2021-22, confirmed England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday. Stokes has been included in the English squad and will leave for Australia with the rest of the team’s players on November 4.
“I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing, and I got my finger sorted. I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia,” said Stokes in the ECB statement.
Stokes has not played any competitive cricket since July 26, when he represented Northern Superchargers in the Hundred. The 30-year-old missed England’s series against India as he pulled out of the squad citing mental health issues and was not considered for selection for the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021.
Moreover, the Christchurch-born last wore England jersey in the ODI series against Pakistan in July, when he captained the team as Eoin Morgan and the rest of the squad were forced into isolation by several Covid-19 positives.
Ashley Giles, England’s managing director of men’s cricket, revealed that Stokes is super excited concerning his comeback in the England outfit.
“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,” said Giles as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Giles reckoned the presence of Stokes would strengthen the team in all departments, as time and again he has proved his potentials and showed how important he is for the English team.
“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,” he added.
The iconic Gabba Stadium in Brisbane will host the opening match of a high-voltage Ashes series from December 8.