Ben Stokes added to England's Ashes squad ahead of Australia tour

Ben Stokes of England. (Photo by Lee Smith/Pool via Getty Images)Ben Stokes of England. (Photo by Lee Smith/Pool via Getty Images)
Ben Stokes of England. (Photo by Lee Smith/Pool via Getty Images)
The all-rounder is set to make his eagerly-anticipated return…

Ben Stokes has been added to the England squad for the upcoming Ashes Test series in Australia this winter.

The 30-year-old has been largely absent from the national team since fracturing his finger during an IPL outing for Rajasthan Royals back in April, and withdrew from a five-Test series against India in August, citing both the injury and a desire to prioritise his mental health.

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He was subsequently left out of England's T20 World Cup squad, but has been given the all-clear to compete in the Ashes after a second operation on his left index finger to remove two screws and scar tissue earlier this month.

The Durham all-rounder will now travel to Australia alongside the Test specialists and their supplementary Lions contingent next week.

Reflecting on the news of his inclusion, Stokes himself said: "I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted," said Stokes.

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

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Stokes was England's leading run-scorer in the 2019 Ashes series, totalling 441 runs at an average of 55.12, including an unbeaten century in a memorable win at Headingley.

This winter’s series is due to begin on December 8th and end on January 18th.

How have fans reacted to the news?

Unsurprisingly, views on Stokes’ inclusion are split largely depending on where fans’ loyalties lie.

Many England fans on social media are delighted with the news:

@ArchieJ96 said: “Made my week and it’s only Monday”

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@Okoye95102231 said: “Get in there Stokie, you did what's best for you now let's hear you roar!”

@PufcNathan tweeted: “England's chances gone up massively, best player on the planet”

But several Australia fans were less impressed with the update:

@MrHenty tweeted: “They had him in England and couldn’t win the series, how’s having him while away going to change anything?”

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@SmudgeStan tweeted: “Bad news and good news all at the same time. Good news is Ben is getting better, which is nice. Bad news is, England get stronger with him in the squad.”

@NUGGZ26 tweeted: “Won’t matter”