England star Ben Stokes provides update on finger injury and assesses the impact of his return ahead of the Ashes


England added Ben Stokes to their squad for the Ashes last month (Picture: Getty)

Ben Stokes says he’s feeling positive about his fitness and ‘excited’ to join up with England’s Test squad again ahead of this winter’s Ashes series Down Under.

Back in July, the 30-year-old announced he would be taking an indefinite break from all formats of the game in order to rest his finger and prioritise his mental well-being.

And while Stokes was left out of England’s initial 17-man party, he officially announced his return last month and will be on the plane to Australia in a significant boost to the tourists’ hopes.

England captain Joe Root will be looking to manage expectations with Stokes given the all-rounder’s left index finger is still healing after two rounds of surgery.

But Stokes has stepped up his training over the last fortnight and is clearly relishing the opportunity to play a part next month when England begin their quest to regain the urn.

Asked whether an Ashes comeback was always part of the plan, Stokes told Sky Sports: ‘Nah, not really. I just took it day-by-day, step-by-step and I had some fantastic support around me to help me through that.

‘I’m just excited to get out there, I can’t wait to see everyone and I’ve just really enjoyed my training over the last couple of weeks.’

Ben Stokes looks on during England's Test match with India

Stokes is ‘excited’ to join up with his England team-mates again (Picture: Getty)

Stokes is ‘glad to come out the other side’ of his struggles with a finger injury which he sustained while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL back in April.

‘The surgeon who performed the second surgery and the first surgery, I’ve probably seen him more times than I would have liked to,’ Stokes added.

‘But he really sorted it out second time, he took the screws out.

‘Unfortunately, the way the body heals is through scar tissue so I had a lot of scar tissue build up around my joint and tendons. He removed all that which thankfully allowed me to get some movement and took away the majority of some frustration in terms of pain as well.

‘I’m glad to come out the other side on that.’

Root is looking to manage expectations with Stokes (Picture: Getty)

The Durham star is keen to play down his individual impact on England’s hopes chances Down Under despite being the top-ranked Test all-rounder in the world just last summer.

Asked whether his return gives England a psychological edge for the Ashes, Stokes replied: ‘No, not at all.

‘In cricket there’s 11 players plus the extended squad and all the backroom staff so I know that one player doesn’t make a team.

‘Although I’m a senior member of that team over the last few years, no, not at all.

‘Every member of that team is just as important as each other.

‘We all play different roles and everyone is capable of winning that match by themselves.’

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