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Ben Stokes added to England’s Test squad for upcoming Ashes tour of Australia

England all-rounder Ben Stokes had a break from cricket to prioritise his mental wellbeing, but now says: “I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”

Last Updated: 25/10/21 9:09am

Ben Stokes will tour Australia with England this winter

Ben Stokes has been added to England’s Ashes squad after declaring himself ready to play competitive cricket again.

The all-rounder was initially unavailable when England named the touring group for Australia, having spent the past three months on an indefinite hiatus to allow a finger injury to heal as well as prioritise his mental health.

However, after having a second surgery on his left index finger earlier this month, Stokes has filmed himself back in the nets batting and bowling, fuelling speculation of an Ashes return, which was confirmed on Monday morning.

“I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted,” Stokes said.

“I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”

Stokes skipped the summer’s marquee Test series against India and is also a notable absentee from the ongoing T20 World Cup.

After fracturing his finger at the Indian Premier League in April, necessitating surgery, Stokes was still struggling with lingering discomfort in the area when he aborted a tentative comeback in July.

Ben Stokes says he is "ready for Australia"

Ben Stokes says he is “ready for Australia”

He had a second operation on October 4 to remove two screws and scar tissue and was given the all-clear by his consultant and the England and Wales Cricket Board medical team to resume training.

Stokes will head to Australia alongside the Test specialists and the supplementary Lions group on November 4.

England Test Squad for Ashes Tour of Australia 2021-22

Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Broad: I’m fit and firing

England bowler Stuart Broad suffered a calf injury in the build-up to the second Test of England’s summer series against India, which resulted in him missing the remainder of the series, but has declared himself “fit and firing” ahead of the Ashes.

With fast-bowling duo Jofra Archer and Olly Stone already ruled out of the tour by injury, Broad’s fitness is crucial in providing captain Joe Root with options for the tour.

England bowler Stuart Broad says he is 'fit and firing' for the Ashes, having recovered from a calf injury

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England bowler Stuart Broad says he is ‘fit and firing’ for the Ashes, having recovered from a calf injury

England bowler Stuart Broad says he is ‘fit and firing’ for the Ashes, having recovered from a calf injury

The first Test in Brisbane would be Broad’s 150th Test match, with the Nottinghamshire seamer looking to add to his tally of 524 wickets.

Asked about his condition, Broad said: “Yeah, all fit and firing.

“I’ve been back bowling two weeks now. Building my workloads up, building my fitness up, ready for what’s a hugely exciting winter for the red-ball team.

“It’s going to be quite an unpredictable series I think. Australia just haven’t played any cricket. I think they’ve played four Tests in the last year. Players are going to be going in without a lot of match time and I think that will be exciting to watch.”

‘I’d love to dominate Warner again’

England bowler Stuart Broad dismissed Australia's David Warner seven times in the 2019 Ashes

England bowler Stuart Broad dismissed Australia’s David Warner seven times in the 2019 Ashes

Broad dominated Australia batsman David Warner during the last Ashes in 2019, dismissing the opener seven times in 10 innings.

While Broad accepts that keeping Warner quiet in English conditions was perhaps an easier task than he will face this winter, the England bowler says he is preparing to try to maintain a similar influence.

“We’ve had some great battles over the years, going back to 2013,” Broad said.

“As an England opening bowler you want to target the opening batters and the top three.

“We know what a key player he is for Australia and of course I’d love to get him out and have the sort of influence I did in 2019 on him, but I’m very aware the challenge of bowling in Australia is pretty different to the challenge of bowling in England, but I am prepping myself for that.”




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