‘Great for hitting balls again’: England talisman Ben Stokes hopes to be even more fit for the Ashes as he hits for the first time in THREE MONTHS… and his last shot was a lot better than his first!
- Ben Stokes hasn’t played cricket indefinitely since July
- The English star prioritizes his mental health but also broke his finger in April
- After his aborted summer comeback, Stokes reported this week that he was able to properly grip a bat for the first time since April.
- He gave even more good news with videos of him hitting balls in the nets
- Ashes starts on December 8 and England flies to Australia on November 4
Ben Stokes raised hopes for his international comeback which coincided with the Ashes on Thursday when he announced his return to hitting cricket balls.
Stokes, 30, posted a video to social media of a private indoor net batting session on the Emirates Riverside, during which he took underarm throws from England physio Craig de Weymarn, who had traveled north to check on his progress. a second surgery on his left index finger last week.
And although England have told their Test vice-captain he must take time out to get back into action after a botched first surgery in April that contributed to him taking an indefinite leave from the sport last summer to preserve his mental health, performance director Mo Bobat acknowledged a change in mood when unveiling the 14-man England Lions squad who will shadow the full squad in Australia from November 4.
Ben Stokes hit a signature straight drive when he hit for the first time since July
Stokes led England to an ODI series win over Pakistan in July before taking a break
“As people probably notice it more broadly, and we’ve noticed internally that throughout all our communication with him we see his energy and excitement return, and that he’s relying on his finger again – which is really important – is hugely positive,” said Bobat.
“Ultimately, given what he’s been through and where he’s been, it’s important that he and we move at the right pace for him.
“There is certainly no expectation or pressure from us. It’s about supporting Ben physically and how we need to support him further so that he can continue to progress at the pace he would like and is comfortable with.”
Stokes, whose sensational hundred in Headingley inspired one of the big Ashes Test wins two years ago, didn’t even think about cricket last month, but appears to have been backed by an operation by Leeds-based consultant Doug Campbell on October 4 that eventually the first since he broke his finger in the Indian Premier League six months ago.
Bobat added: “It’s basically the same for everyone. If there’s something you love to do, something you think you’re good at and you’re inhibited and can’t, it’s hard to take.
“Certainly, it seems that the extra medical stuff that’s happened, the removal of scar tissue and everything else he’s done, cleared his finger and gave him back that sense of confidence.”
Stokes’ first shot since July left a lot of room for improvement as it came off the toe
Stokes posted a photo of him gripping a bat for the first time in months
Temptingly, the first test at the Gabba is in eight weeks and Stokes could be match fit by mid-November.
Around the time when the entire England team will play against the Lions in a three-day game within the squad, followed by a four-day game that is expected to have first-class status.
A total of 31 players have been chosen and Bobat confirmed that the ECB is open to individuals from outside the 17 Ashes roster who will take part in the full tour.
Although the Lions tour ends Dec. 16, some may be asked to stay on, he said, though he had no objection to turning to Liam Livingstone and James Vince, who are both expected to be in the Big Bash. will play, in an emergency.
Livingstone didn’t make the cut for the second string group because “from the red ball perspective it felt like there were other players ahead of him right now,” said Bobat.
The latest update has raised hopes the England all-rounder can get back into action soon, although he has an ‘indefinite break’ from the game to prioritize his mental health
Those selected were reminded of the minimum fitness levels needed to board the plane in three weeks. The ECB’s multifarious physical tests operate on a traffic light system in which two red lights turn out to be terminal.
But ahead of a 14-day training session at the academy in Loughborough, Bobat insisted: “We try to work with players to bring them in, not take them out.
Meanwhile, Will Pucovski, who is vying with Victoria teammate Marcus Harris to open with David Warner in the Ashes, is suffering from what is believed to be his ninth concussion after being hit on the head by a ball during state training. The 23-year-old hit 62 on his Test debut against India in January.