Nasser Hussain: Ben Stokes’ return is great news for England and the man

Ben Stokes

Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes Ben Stokes’ inclusion in the England squad for the forthcoming Ashes proves he is in a better place both physically and mentally.

The all-rounder was initially unavailable when England named the touring group for Australia, having spent the past three months on an indefinite hiatus to allow a finger injury to heal as well as prioritise his mental health.

However, after having a second surgery on his left index finger earlier this month, Stokes has filmed himself back in the nets batting and bowling, fuelling speculation of an Ashes return, which was confirmed on Monday morning.

The news delighted Hussain, who told Sky Sports News: “It is obviously great news for England as Ben Stokes is virtually irreplaceable in any format. He’s one of the great all-rounders in world cricket at the moment.

“But more importantly it’s great news for Ben Stokes, both physically and mentally. It is absolutely great news that England have got their talismanic cricketer back in the side.

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

“I think where he might need looking after mentally if and when he has to go back into that quarantine situation and back into a bubble.”

Ben Stokes’ Ashes return: What the allrounder brings to the party for England

The all-rounder delivered a string of inspirational performances prior to his finger injury and mental well-being break, most memorably in the 2019 World Cup final and the third Ashes Test of that same summer.

Stokes signed off with a half-century and four for 89 in March’s innings defeat to India in Ahmedabad and, now back and in his own words “ready for Australia”.