England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been added to the side’s Test squad for the Ashes tour of Australia, beginning at The Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.
Stokes, who has been given the all-clear by his consultant and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) medical team to resume training following his second operation on a fractured left index finger, will depart with the Test specialists and the Lions on November 4.
“The 30-year-old is ready to return to competitive cricket following his break from the game at the end of July to prioritise his mental wellbeing,” the ECB said in a statement on Monday.
Stokes had taken an indefinite break to tend to his mental wellbeing and also his injured finger earlier this year, but he recently returned to the nets, fanning speculation that he was ready to return to the England side.
“I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted,” said Stokes on Monday. “I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”
The England men’s team managing director, Ashley Giles, 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 the prospect of playing a significant role in the Ashes series.”
The Joe Root-led side will leave for Australia early next month after the issue of strict quarantine for the tourists was resolved following discussions between Cricket Australia (CA) and the ECB.
“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,” said Giles.
“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.”