Rory Burns said that the return of the talismanic Ben Stokes has provided a “massive boost” for the squad. Confidence is high in the England camp that they can regain the Ashes.
England has not enjoyed much Test success in recent months, losing home series to New Zealand and India, and have not held the Ashes since 2015. But the late inclusion of Ben Stokes, who has not played any cricket since July because of a finger injury and mental health issues, has lifted the morale of the squad, Rory Burns said.
Rory Burns: It’s A Massive Boost To Get Ben Stokes Back In The Side
Ben Stokes had undergone a secondary operation on his finger last month to remove scar tissue. He averages 37.05 in 71 Tests, where he amassed 4631 runs with 10 tons and has also taken 163 scalps averaging 31.38 with the ball in hand. His name wasn’t included in the Ashes 2021/22 initial squad, but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) later announced that Ben Stokes would be available for the series, which is due to start on December 8.
“It’s obviously a massive boost to get Stokesy back in the side,” Rory Burns said from the luxury resort on the Gold Coast where England’s Test players, who arrived in Australia on Saturday, are serving 14 days in quarantine.
However, even without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, England has performed brilliantly in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, having won 4 out of 5 games to easily make it to the semi-finals of the marquee tournament.
“You know what a good player he is. To get a bloke of his calibre back around our group is a big lift for us. It’s exciting because we wanted to get out here and have the best side possible and obviously Ben adds to that,” Rory Burns said
The 30-year-old Ben Stokes is a proven match-winner, and his unbeaten 135 in a record run chase at Headingley carried England to a stunning one-wicket victory and ensured the 2019 Ashes were squared.
Ben Stokes: Every Member Of England Team Is Equally Important
But the New Zealand-born all-rounder has played down his return to full fitness and said before leaving for Australia that while he was desperate to be back playing in the “pinnacle of Test cricket”, one player did not make a team.
“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 said.
“We’ve got the likes of Jimmy (Anderson), Broady (Stuart Broad) who have obviously been there, done that. Rooty — fantastic leader and England’s greatest-ever batter, so we’ve got everything to come back at Australia with what they’ve got.”
England has taken a backup squad to Australia to provide the opposition in two warm-up games before the first Test starts in Brisbane on December 8. The second Test is in Adelaide from December 16, followed by the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Sydney, beginning on January 5 and Perth on January 14, subject to quarantine requirements.
Members of England’s Test squad currently playing in the T20 World Cup — Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood — will travel on to Australia from the UAE after the tournament.