Gary Lineker and England fans laud ‘great news’ of Ben Stokes’ Ashes return

Gary Lineker led the messages from delighted England fans after Ben Stokes was added to the Ashes squad to face Australia.

The all-rounder had been taking time off to prioritise his mental health and had also been recovering from a finger injury.

The 30-year-old withdrew from England's squad for the five-Test series against India in August to rest his broken left index finger.

He sustained the injury while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in April.

But now Stokes has been given the all-clear and will take to the field Down Under as England look to regain the prestigious Urn.

"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."

Lineker took to Twitter and wrote “great news” after hearing Stokes would be returning to the England squad, as well as Twitter fan @SportBilly__ who added: “Great news. Just the boost the side will need too I guess.

“Hopefully he gets a chance to get into good nick beforehand and it gives him the confidence and positive feelings after such a tough year.”

@PeckAndrew wrote: “This is amazing news. Australia will shudder. Our chances have just increased greatly in the Ashes. Brilliant Monday news. Thank you Ben!! #bbccricket #ashes.”

Who will win the Ashes? Drop your prediction in the comments section.

Another fan @samturps85 posted: “Best news for a Monday morning!”

England are looking to regain the Ashes after losing the urn the last time they played in Australia and drawing the return series two years ago.

They were hammered 4-0 in 2017 and will need to be at their best if they are to turn the tables in the upcoming series.

The Test side is on a poor run of form having lost their last three series against New Zealand and twice to India.

Stokes played a pivotal role in enabling England ultimately to tie the 2019 Ashes series 2-2.

In the third Test at Headingley, England appeared to be heading for certain defeat after they were bowled out for 67 in their first innings.

Stokes managed to overturn an overnight Australian lead, hitting 11 fours and 8 sixes to win with an unbeaten 135 in a record pursuit of 359, an innings described as one of the greatest of all time.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain hailed Stokes' inclusion and stressed the importance of having a player of his calibre in the side to take on Australia.

"It's great news for England that they have their talismanic cricketer back in the side," he said.

"Ben is virtually irreplaceable in any format; he is one of the great all-rounders in world cricket. It is also great news for Ben himself, physically, and more important, mentally.

"He is the type of cricketer you need against Australia, someone to look them in the face and take them on.

"You think of Sir Ian Botham, you think of Kevin Pietersen. Australia like to go after players that back down – Stokes definitely won't do that."

The Ashes-winning captain from 2005 Michael Vaughan commented: "The best news to wake up to, Ben Stokes back involved & on the plane to Australia."

England's managing director Ashley Giles spoke about the reintroduction of Stokes into the team.

He stated: "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 playing a significant role in the Ashes.

The former spin bowler continued: "Time and again Ben has demonstrated how important he is to the England team and having him available for the Ashes is excellent news for all of us.

"Having not played for some time we will move forward cautiously over the next few weeks to ensure he is fully prepared."

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