Ben Stokes is back: The all-rounder added to England’s Ashes squad
Stokes was carrying a left index finger fracture for the most part of the year after injuring himself whilst representing Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League match. The 30-year old all-rounder also took an indefinite break from the sport citing mental health reasons which have been brought up again and again by different sportspersons since the advent of bio bubbles.
The Durham all-rounder wrote a column in the Mirror explaining the troubles faced by him in recent times and how he overcame them by simply ‘talking’.
“I had been struggling with bubble life and events off the field. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did, because I wasn’t in a good place and I’m not afraid to admit it. I was in a real dark place and having some difficult thoughts. I was always one of those people who wouldn’t talk about how they are feeling and just keep it internal and crack on. I now realize talking is such a powerful thing and it has completely changed me. I’m buzzing for the Ashes. Just buzzing.”
Earlier in October, Stokes underwent surgery for the second time in 2021 as two screws and some scar tissue were removed from the injured finger. There were fears in the English camp that one of the best all-rounders would not be available for a tough away series against their arch-rivals. The rehabilitation has happened at a brisk pace allowing the England Cricket Board (ECB) to announce the return of the fan-favorite player in the upcoming Ashes squad.
With Jofra Archer already in surgery remission, England didn’t want to miss two of their best men from the fast bowling contingent after the 5-0 and 4-0 drubbing in the last couple of away Ashes tours.
Ashley Giles, the Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket expressed delight on the return of one of the nation’s best players.
“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.”
Giles also talked about how they will be slowly integrating the all-rounder in the plans with head coach Chris Silverwood and skipper Joe Root happy to welcome back the experienced all-rounder.
“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.”
England Squad: Joe Root (C), Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Daniel Lawrence, Dom Bess, Jack Leach, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson
The English team will be departing for Australia on November 4 with tests specialists including skipper Joe Root and Stokes traveling down under for a preparation camp. England’s T20I players will be joining them in a bubble-to-bubble transfer after their tournament comes to an end.