Ben Stokes. (Image Credits: Twitter)
England head coach and selector Chris Silverwood shared an update on Ben Stokes‘ return following the Ashes squad announcement. England’s full-strength 17-man squad sees the absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes as he continues his break from cricket to focus on his mental health. Stokes is also yet to fully recover from an injury to his finger.
The all-rounder was already likely to miss the Ashes tour as he and England had not revealed any information about his return to cricket following his break. Additionally, Stokes recently underwent a second surgery on his broken finger.
When Silverwood was asked whether Stokes could join the squad later, he remained uncertain.
In a virtual conference clip uploaded by the ECB, Chris Silverwood said he would not rush Stokes’ comeback. The head coach claimed his priority is to allow the all-rounder a complete recovery to be able to perform well after returning.
“I’m gonna go back to my old answer. I’m seriously not going to put any pressure on Ben whatsoever. Ben will come back when he is ready, he’ll give me a call. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to make plans when necessary. But first and foremost, my first intent is to make sure he’s okay from a well-being point of view when he is back to perform.”
Ben Stokes has been on an indefinite break from cricket since August. The 30-year old will miss the T20 World Cup and most probably the Ashes. The recovery period for his finger injury means Stokes will likely return during England’s tour of the West Indies in early 2022.
Ben Stokes to miss second successive Ashes away series
Stokes’ almost certain absence also means he will sit out a second consecutive Ashes tour. The seam-bowling all-rounder could not play in the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia after his involvement in the street brawl and the disciplinary process that followed.
His performance in the 2019 Ashes in England was remarkable, helping the hosts settle for a 2-2 draw.
But despite selecting a full-strength squad, led by Joe Root, the tourists will miss Stokes’ presence in their bid to regain the urn. The last two away Ashes series have ended in 4-0 and 5-0 defeats for England.
The 2021-22 Ashes series gets underway from the 8th of December in Brisbane.