England’s already declining chances in the away Ashes series this year is likely to be hit further by all-rounder Ben Stokes’ absence. The star all-rounder may skip the Ashes in Australia as reports have surfaced that he is yet to recover from his mental health issues.
Stokes was not part of the home series against India and chose for an indefinite break to focus on his mental well-being. It means that the 30-year-old will skip the second phase of IPL 2021. The national selectors did not name him in the World T20 squad either.
According to the Telegraph, Stokes has made significant progress when it comes to his mental health issues. However, England remain aware of the challenges in Australia, where they will have to face an extended quarantine period. Also, the bio-bubble fatigue due to the extensive quarantine period has caused the likes of Jos Butler, Jonny Bairstow to opt out of IPL too. Thus, England Cricket Board’s decision regarding Ben Stokes selection seems to be wise.
The seam-bowling all-rounder will most likely make a comeback when England visits the West Indies early next year. The two sides are scheduled to play five T20Is and three Tests against the Windies.
With uncertainty about whether the visitors tourists can bring their families to Australia, key players may boycott the series. According to The Telegraph, they will learn the conditions for the Ashes tour by the end of the month, allowing them to decide. Their squad for the Ashes will be announced in early October.
Ben Stokes yet to fully recover from finger injury
The finger injury that ruled out Ben Stokes for the first phase of IPL 2021 is yet to fully heal. It remains a serious concern as he risks staying out of action for an extended period.
While the “Headingley Test Star’s” potential absence will be a huge blow, England’s poor Test form is as much a problem. The summer saw the English win only one out of six Tests. They lost the series to New Zealand and trailed the five-match series against India before the final match was indefinitely postponed.
Stokes has so far played only four Tests in Australia, with all three coming in the 2013-14 Ashes series. That’s 7 years ago, conditions have definitely changed since.Â He made his name in the third Test in Perth by scoring a hundred, but the visitors suffered a whitewash on that occasion. The star all-rounder missed the 2017-18 leg due to the fallout of a street fight.