England have been given a big boost ahead of the Ashes tour of Australia in 2021/22, with the inclusion of Ben Stokes to the squad.
All rounder Stokes has been given the green light by his consultant and the England and Wales Cricket Board's medical team to resume training.
It follows an extended break from the game to allow time for a second operation on a fractured left index finger and to prioritise his mental wellbeing.
‘I’m ready for Australia’
Stokes will depart with the Test specialists and the Lions on 4 November.
The 30-year-old said: “I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted.
“I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”
England 2021/22 Ashes squad
Stokes will team up with red ball captain Joe Root and the rest of the England squad for five Test matches in Australia this winter.
- Joe Root (Yorkshire)
- James Anderson (Lancashire)
- Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)
- Dom Bess (Yorkshire)
- Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
- Rory Burns (Surrey)
- Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
- Zak Crawley (Kent)
- Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire)
- Dan Lawrence (Essex)
- Jack Leach (Somerset)
- Dawid Malan (Yorkshire)
- Craig Overton (Somerset)
- Ollie Pope (Surrey)
- Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
- Ben Stokes (Durham)
- Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
- Mark Wood (Durham)
‘We will move forward cautiously’
Former England spinner and managing director of England Men's Cricket, Ashley Giles, underlined Stokes' importance to the team.
Giles said: "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.
"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.
"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."
When do England play Australia in the Ashes?
- 1st Test - Australia v England, Gabba, Brisbane (8-12 December)
- 2nd Test - Australia v England (D/N), Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (16-20 December)
- 3rd Test - Australia v England, MCG, Melbourne (26-30 December)
- 4th Test - Australia v England, SCG, Sydney (5-9 January)
- 5th Test - Australia v England, Optus Stadium, Perth (14-18 January)
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