Cricketer-turned-expert Michael Vaughan has said the return of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes for the upcoming Ashes series is a huge boost for the England team. Stokes had taken an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues. He was also struggling with a finger injury he sustained in the first leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He recently underwent surgery and revealed that he is feeling better, raising hopes for an Ashes return.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan is delighted with Stokes’ return and said that his presence will make a huge difference to England. “Ben Stokes’s return for the Ashes is huge,” Vaughan said to Daily Telegraph.
“Without him, I would not have given England a chance in Australia; with him, they have a glimmer of hope — and maybe a bit more than that.”
The former England captain further opined that Stokes’ contribution is not only limited to the bat and ball but also off the field as he has an incredible aura. “Stokes is the engine of this England team, the guy who powers them. Not only does he contribute massively himself, he lifts the performances of those around him, inspiring, cajoling, and driving up standards.”
The all-rounder had a great Ashes series last time in 2019. His unbeaten 135 at Leeds was one of the best counter-attacking innings ever witnessed in the fourth innings of a run-chase. Vaughan reckons the southpaw is a big impact player and his presence will send chills down the spines of Australians.
“Crucially, he is also a player Australia fear,” added Vaughan. “The scars he inflicted on them at Headingley two years ago will not have fully healed, and the sight of him walking out at Brisbane — or wherever he manages to play his first test — will send a few shivers up local spines.”
The Ashes gets underway on December 8 in Brisbane.