Huge boost for England as star all-rounder Ben Stokes is ADDED to their Ashes squad after taking a break from the game to focus on his mental health and recover from a badly broken finger
- England have been handed a major boost with Ben Stokes added to Ashes squad
- All-rounder had been taking break from the game to prioritise his mental health
- Stokes also needed surgery on a broken finger suffered during the IPL
- He posted videos showing him gripping a bat in the nets pain free last week
England were handed a major Ashes boost today when Ben Stokes was added to their squad to take on Australia.
Stokes, 30, has been missing from the England side since the summer when he took an indefinite break to concentrate on the finger injury he badly broke playing in the IPL and to protect his mental health.
But a second operation on his left index finger finally repaired the damage and led to Stokes posting encouraging videos on social media of him gripping a bat pain free.
Ben Stokes has been added to the England squad for this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia
Stokes was the Headingley hero in 2019 and will hope for more talismanic feats this time
Now England, who have always said they will welcome back their talisman when he is ready, have avoided a ‘will he won’t he’ saga during the biggest Test series of them all by adding him to their enlarged Ashes squad.
He will depart with the Test specialists and Lions squad on November 4.
‘I had a break to prioritise my mental well-being and I got my finger sorted,’ said Stokes today. ‘I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.’
Ashley Giles, England’s managing director, added: ‘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 playing a significant role in the Ashes.
‘Time and again Ben has demonstrated how important he is to the England team and having him available for the Ashes is excellent news for all of us. Having not played for some time we will move forward cautiously over the next few weeks to ensure he is fully prepared.’
Stokes had released social media videos showing him batting and then bowling in recent weeks, raising hopes he would return for the Ashes, which gets underway in Brisbane on December 8.
Sportsmail also reported that Stokes held a private batting session in the indoor nets at Emirates Riverside in Chester-le-Street.
In that video, he struck several underarm throwdowns from England physio Craig de Weymarn, who ventured up north to check on his progress after a second surgical procedure on his left index finger two weeks ago.
The 30-year-old star also posted a video of him batting in the Durham indoor nets recently
England’s Test vice-captain suffered the finger fracture trying to catch a Chris Gayle lofted drive in an IPL match in April.
Stokes returned to play 11 weeks after the fracture, but the operation proved unsuccessful and impaired his ability to bat.
It was a factor in him taking a break not long after captaining England’s 50-over team to a 3-0 series win over Pakistan.
During the last Ashes series in 2019 Stokes had his finest moment, scoring 135 not out to inspire England to an incredible victory by one wicket in the third Test at Headingley.
Stokes captained England’s second string one-day side to a series victory over Pakistan in July