Stokes' exclusion from the Ashes squad is a big blow to England
England all-rounder Ben Stokes will not be featured in the Ashes squad against Australia in early December. His absence is largely due to his mental health break and a finger injury. His absence will be a big blow because he’s a crucial cog in the Three Lions’ system.
Stokes has not played for England ever since they toured India back in March 2021. He took an indefinite break from the sport so he can focus on improving his mental health. He also underwent surgery on his finger which is key to how he plays the sport. Stokes is not the only missing player on the list with fellow all-rounder Sam Curran also sidelined with an injury.
The squad is filled with players with experience including re-calls for batsman Zak Crawley and off-spinner Dom Bess. Joe Root will captain the team for the Ashes series against Australia. The series will start on the 8th of December in Brisbane.
Silverwood believes England will be balanced without Stokes
Even if Stokes will not be with the squad, you can expect head coach Chris Silverwood to still have full trust in his team. It will be a tough series against heated rivals, Australia. Omitting Stokes from the squad will be a big obstacle since the Three Lions have relied on him for productivity over the past few years.
Most of the players on the list have not yet played in an Ashes series which signals a new era for the team. Silverwood is optimistic about this team’s performances moving forward.
He said, ‘More than half of our squad haven't featured in an Ashes tour before, which means we will be fresh and looking to embrace the cricket and the excitement of touring one of the best places in the world. I believe we have selected a well-balanced squad with options in all areas and a blend of youth and experience. There is real competition for places and a genuine desire to work hard and compete, aiming to create some history’.
Stokes will most likely return in 2022
Most of the info about Stokes coming out of the England camp is linked to his finger injury. The break has been good for his mental health which has led to heavy rumours of him returning sometime in 2022. Hopefully, Stokes can fully recover from both his mental health struggles and his finger ailment sometime soon because England needs him to play again.
In the meantime, the England squad will be playing against a similarly depleted Aussie squad. They also have many injuries to their squad but they are hopeful they can emerge victorious against their English rivals.
Silverwood is aware that the Aussie squad might surprise them which is why they’re not being complacent. The England coach said, ‘We are under no illusions about how difficult the task is going to be. Australia has been strong at home in the past, and there is an expectation on them to win this series. However, from our point of view, there is genuine excitement and belief that we can do something special’.
It will be fun to watch this Ashes series because the squad will be filled with talented players who are ready to prove themselves at the highest level of cricket competition. Root and Stuart Broad will most likely be the team’s leaders because they already have experience from Ashes in the past few years.
Word: Cholo Martin