Ashes 2021-22: England's 2019 Headingley hero Ben Stokes to play Brisbane Test? Here's what Joe Root said
Ben Stokes was a late addition to the England squad for the Ashes after the all-rounder took an indefinite break from cricket in July to improve his mental health while also recovering from a second surgery on a broken finger.
The much-anticipated Ashes series between Australia and England, slated to start on December 8 at the Gabba, Brisbane, is already stirring excitement among fans of the game. And England captain Joe Root's comment on all-rounder Ben Stokes looking good ahead of the first Test has upped the anticipation. Although Root did not 'feel comfortable' naming the team for the Gabba Test on Monday (December 6), he left little doubt that Ben Stokes would be a part of the side.
Ben Stokes was a late addition to the England squad after the all-rounder took an indefinite break from cricket in July to improve his mental health while also recovering from a second surgery on a broken finger. One may recall that Stokes, who frustrated Australia with an unbeaten 135 at Headingly to pull off an unlikely run chase in the 2019 Ashes series, returned to the game last week. The 30-year-old took 2-31 and scored 42 not out against the England Lions.
While speaking to reporters at the Gabba, England skipper Joe Root said that it has been good to see Ben Stokes get involved in the frame of things and play the limited game time they had, and 'to look as good as he did.' Expressing faith in Stokes' desire to mark a solid comeback into the England side, Root added, "I always know that when he gets into that game, he'll want to put his mark on it, put his stamp on it."
When asked if Root would need to manage the number of overs Stokes bowled, the England skipper said it was important not to add pressure on the 30-year-old with too many expectations. He added that the England bowling unit could collectively take those Australian wickets. "I'm sure Ben will have a big say in that. It's something we'll be working on getting right this whole series, particularly in that first game," said Root.
The visitors, who last won a Test match at the Gabba in 1986, were not in any rush to announce the side, despite Australia's Pat Cummins naming his team on Sunday (December 5). However, Joe Root hopes England will break the 35-year hoodoo. "I'm not into mind games; I'm just not in a position right now to name my team," he said.
"Fair play that they've announced their 11. It doesn't concern me or changes anything from our perspective. We'll conduct our business how we want to and let you know when we're ready," added the England skipper.