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Ben Stokes is relishing his return to international cricket after being added to England’s squad for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia.

Stokes was initially unavailable when England announced their touring party for Australia, having spent the last three months on an indefinite hiatus to recover from a finger injury while also prioritising his mental health.

However, Stokes declared last month that he was ready to return to competitive cricket, and England’s talismanic all-rounder was subsequently added to Joe Root’s squad.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports on a shoot with adidas, Stokes paid tribute to his support network and looked ahead to England’s impending trip down under.

“I just took it day by day, step by step. I had fantastic support around me to help me through that, and I’m just excited to get out there,” Stokes told Sky Sports’ Tim Thornton.

“I cannot wait to see everyone, and I’ve just really enjoyed my training the last couple of weeks, so it’s good.”

Having fractured his finger during the Indian Premier League in April, Stokes was still in discomfort ahead of his planned comeback in July, and, after undergoing a second operation on October 4, he has since resumed training.

“I had a lot of scar tissue build-up around my joint and my tendons so he [the surgeon] removed all that, which thankfully allowed me to actually get some movement and took away the frustration in terms of pain as well.

“I’m glad to come out the other side of that. I think it’s important for anyone [to get that emotional reset]. Whether it be a job or their day-to-day life, it’s important for everyone.”

You are playing at the highest level possible and the Ashes  for an Englishman in Australia, that is the pinnacle of Test cricket.

Stokes has been central to England’s most recent successes  he played a starring role in their remarkable World Cup triumph in 2019, before producing one of the greatest innings of all time in an astonishing Ashes Test at Headingley just months later.

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However, the 30-year-old has played down the significance of his return, and believes England are well equipped to challenge for a first Ashes victory on Australian soil for over a decade.

“One player doesn’t make a team, and although I know I’m a senior member of that team over the last few years, every member of that team is just as important as each other,” he added.



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