Flamboyant all-rounder Ben Stokes remembered his late father on the eve of first Ashes 2021-22 Test between Australia and England at the Gabba, Brisbane. Stokes’ father Ged Stokes passed away last year on December 8 after a long battle with brain cancer at the age of 65. The all-rounder will return to play his first competitive game as he has been included in the 12-member squad for the opening Test.
The charismatic all-rounder was a late addition to the England squad after taking a break from July to focus on his mental health and to rest an injured finger.
Stokes posted a photo with his father on Instagram and said he will miss him this week.
“I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk out onto a field ever again a few months ago,I find it amazing that when I do walk out tomorrow I’ll be remembering you exactly 1 year on since you left us….You are gonna be with me this whole week," Stokes wrote.
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In October this year, Stokes underwent a second operation to address issues with the finger that he injured during the Indian Premier League 2021 while playing for Rajasthan Royals in April.
The return of Stokes from time out for a mental health break and a finger injury gives England an extra seam option, which could also help Leach’s chances of selection. Leach played the last of his 16 Tests in India in March.
Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns are set to open the batting, with Dawid Malan, skipper Joe Root, Stokes and Ollie Pope in the top six. Jos Buttler has been confirmed as wicketkeeper, leaving most of the questions over the balance of the bowling attack.
England (12-member squad): Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach.