Former England captain Michael Vaughan feels the return of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes for the Ashes series is a massive boost for the team. Stokes had taken an indefinite break from the game owing to mental health issues. He was also struggling with a finger injury for which he recently underwent surgery. Last week, Stokes revealed that he is feeling better raising hopes of an Ashes return.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan is delighted with the development and reckons that Stokes presence in the team will lift the spirit of the players.
“Ben Stokes’s return for the Ashes is huge,” Vaughan wrote in his column in the 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 cricketer-turned-expert further opined that Stokes’s impact is not restricted to bat and ball as his presence on the field lifts the spirits of other players,
“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.”
This will be Stokes’s fourth Ashes series since his debut in the 2013 series Down Under. Stokes was the hero in the 2019 Ashes, wherein his epic fourth innings of unbeaten 135 gave England an unlikely win. Stokes was also named the player of the series. Vaughan feels the all-rounder’s return for the Ashes series could send shivers in the Australian camp.
“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.”