Ahead of the much-awaited Ashes later this year, England have been handed a major boost as they have their star all-rounder Ben Stokes back in the scheme of things after a long time. The 30-year-old has had his issues in recent times, especially since suffering finger injury in first phase of IPL 2021. Amid all the surgeries, he also decided to take a ‘mental health’ break and pulled out of the ongoing T20 World Cup as well.
But much to the delight of everyone, Stokes confirmed his return on cricket field for the upcoming Ashes few days back. And as it turns out, he has now also made his way back into the nets to kick off his preparations for the highly-anticipated series. The players assembled on Thursday at the Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast which is when Stokes also had some practice drills.
While receiving throwdowns from England physiotherapist Craig De Weymarn, the Durham all-rounder was heard saying, “Great to be back hitting balls.” Some of the images of the session was also shared by ECB on their social media handles where Joe Root and Stuart Broad could also be seen in action.
Things you love to see 😍
Our Ashes squad have started in-quarantine training on the Gold Coast 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/zg7x1zE71e
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 11, 2021
Return of Stokes a huge boost for England
Reflecting on the return of Stokes, England and Wales Cricket Board’s performance director admitted that it’s hugely positive and exciting for the team to have him back.
He said, “Certainly it looks like the extra medical stuff that has happened and the removal of scar tissue and everything else he had done has freed up his finger and it’s given him that feeling confidence again back into his fingers.”
“Ultimately given what he’s experienced and where he’s been, it’s important that he and we move at the right pace for him. There’s certainly no pressure or expectation from us. It’s a case of us supporting Ben physically and however else we need to support but support him so that he can continue to progress at the rate that he would like to and he feels comfortable,” he concluded.
“It looks very promising”: Joe Root on Stokes’ progress
England Test captain Joe Root also provided an update on the progress of Ben Stokes during the training session. The 30-year-old revealed that the all-rounder has been fully involved in training in the last couple of days. “It has been very light, we are just trying to acclimatize as best we can. He’s had a bat, a bowl, taken some catches, doing his fielding work slightly separately,” he added.
Root went on to say that it looks like Stokes is back on track which makes it very exciting for everyone. “It’s managing that excitement and making sure we don’t push him too hard so he’s ready for the first game. It’s been remarkable to see how far he’s come. It looks very promising. He’s been brilliant. We’ve seen him at training, having him back amongst things is always great, so it’s really nice to have him back involved,” the England skipper concluded.