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Ashes 2021-22 | Ben Stokes is a massive asset in many respects, says Joe Root

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Ben Stokes was England's leading performer during the 2019 home Ashes series

| Gettty

Ashes 2021-22 | Ben Stokes is a massive asset in many respects, says Joe Root

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SportsCafe Desk

11/03/2021

England Test captain Joe Root is thrilled to have Ben Stokes back for the Ashes, and spoke highly of the value the all-rounder brings to the setup. Root was confident that Stokes will do everything possible to be fully prepared ahead of the first Test in Brisbane, which begins on December 8.

After a long break away from the game, Ben Stokes is set to make a return during England’s away Ashes series in December-January. Stokes, who had suffered a finger injury during the IPL 2021 first leg, missed a major part of the English summer, and had taken an indefinite break from the game to focus on his mental-health, while nursing the injury.

Joe Root spoke highly of the all-rounder, and reflected on what it means to the team ahead of an all important series, given his record against the opponents. 

"Obviously, it's massive news," Root said the eve of the Test specialists' departure. "Speak to anyone within the game, whether they'd prefer to have Ben in their team or not, and everyone would say they would. On a personal level, I'm just absolutely thrilled that he's in a place where he can get back playing and enjoy the sport once again.

"He's a massive asset in many respects," Root said. "First and foremost, his performances on the field, especially what he has done against Australia in the recent past. But also the way that he plays his cricket. Look at where we are going: we are going to have periods of play where it's going to be very challenging. We're going have to have people stick their hands up and grab the game - he is someone who will always do that.”

Root further spoke of the value Stokes brings within the leadership group, and how his work ethics inspire the rest around.

"He'll lead from the front in that respect, he is a brilliant leader in the dressing room and people follow him. They look at how he works, how he practices, how he goes about his cricket. And they all want to go along with him.

"That's a great trait to have, along with being capable of performing how he does. It's a huge boost for balancing the side as well, as he has done for such a long time now. Everything about the way he goes about things is going to be great for us."

Root realizes the challenges that come while making a comeback at the highest level after a long time, and said that the team is “managing expectations” with their premier match-winner’s return. However, he’s confident that Stokes will be up and ready soon, to create an impact he always does for England.

"Although we all know what Ben is capable of, we're still managing expectations," Root added. "He's been out of the game a long time, he's had a serious injury and he's got a lot of work to do to get himself back to the Ben Stokes we all know. But if there's one thing we can bet on with Ben it's that he'll do everything he can to ready himself and then put in performances that help England win games of cricket."

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