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Nasser Hussain: ‘Talismanic’ Ben Stokes’ Ashes return great for the player, England and Jack Leach

Nasser Hussain

Cricket Expert & Columnist

Ben Stokes has declared himself “ready for Australia” having taken time away from cricket to prioritise his mental wellbeing and recover from a finger injury; Nasser Hussain says all-rounder is the type of player England need in Australia; Ashes set to begin in Brisbane on December 8

Last Updated: 25/10/21 10:49am


Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes' return is great for England but more importantly for the player

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Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes’ return is great for England but more importantly for the player

Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes’ return is great for England but more importantly for the player

Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes’ return for The Ashes gives England the sort of “talismanic” player they need to take on Australia – and boosts spinner Jack Leach’s chances of being selected.

Stokes has been added to England’s squad for the five-Test series and declared himself “ready for Australia” having recently taken time away from the game to prioritise his mental wellbeing and rehab the finger he injured playing in the IPL earlier this year.

The 30-year-old scored a stunning unbeaten 135 – a knock Hussain called “one of the greatest innings I have ever seen by any cricketer in Test match cricket” – as England won the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley by one wicket.

Stokes' return could boost the chances of Jack Leach playing regularly in The Ashes, says Nasser

Stokes’ return could boost the chances of Jack Leach playing regularly in The Ashes, says Nasser

Stokes scored 74 runs during an unbroken last-wicket stand of 76 with Leach, who added a solitary, but vital, run to the partnership, with his single drawing England level before Stokes struck the match-wining boundary off Australia seamer Pat Cummins.

Hussain believes the balance Stokes brings to the side means England may now abandon a potential all-seam attack in a series which is scheduled to begin in Brisbane on December 8.

On Stokes’ return, Hussain said: “It’s great news for England that they have their talismanic cricketer back in the side.

“Ben is virtually irreplaceable in any format; he is one of the great all-rounders in world cricket. It is also great news for Ben himself, physically, and more important, mentally.

Obviously Ben will have to be looked after in the weeks and months ahead. When he goes back into quarantine, back into the bubble, that’s when he will need looking after.

Nasser Hussain

“He is going to Australia early and with pretty much full preparation for a full Ashes series, hopefully.

“I think they will need to ease him back in with the bowling but with the batting, as long as that finger is fine, then I think he will be able to come straight back in.

“He is the type of cricketer you need against Australia, someone to look them in the face and take them on.

“You think of Sir Ian Botham, you think of Kevin Pietersen. Australia like to go after players that back down – Stokes definitely won’t do that.

Stokes' match-winning four at Headingley in 2019 was an amazing moment, whichever angle you watch it from!

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Stokes’ match-winning four at Headingley in 2019 was an amazing moment, whichever angle you watch it from!

Stokes’ match-winning four at Headingley in 2019 was an amazing moment, whichever angle you watch it from!

“If he’s fit and available Stokes plays, and all the other pieces of the jigsaw just fall into place after that. It is great news for Leach, I would say.

“England were struggling without Stokes because he is two cricketers in one – they were almost having to pick 12. They wanted all their batters, a wicketkeeper, all their seamers and a spinner.

“The one that may have been left out on some of the pitches in Australia is Leach, who is the frontline spinner now with Moeen Ali retiring from Test cricket.

“Because Leach doesn’t bat as well as Moeen, they needed an all-rounder, they needed Stokes. He can now bat at No 5 or 6, with Jos Buttler at No 7 followed by three seamers and Leach.”




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