Jos Buttler says Ben Stokes’ Ashes return is a “massive boost” for England, while Steve Smith believes tourists are now a more “dangerous” side with all-rounder back; Ashes series to start in Brisbane on December 8 with England looking to triumph down under for the first time since 2010-11
Last Updated: 26/10/21 6:10pm
England’s Jos Buttler and Australia’s Steve Smith say The Ashes will be all the better for Ben Stokes’ involvement after the all-rounder was added to the tourists’ squad for the five-Test series.
Stokes has been away from the game to prioritise his mental wellbeing and recover from a finger injury, but is now set to be available for the whole of England’s bid to regain the urn, which begins in Brisbane on December 8.
The 30-year-old’s inclusion gives captain Joe Root a first-choice squad, save for injured fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.
Stokes’ England team-mate Buttler said: “It is a massive boost for everyone.
“First and foremost for Ben to be in a position where he is happy and healthy, both physically and mentally, to resume his cricket career.
“I’m sure everyone is going to be delighted to see him back on the field. It’s a massive boost for England and the Ashes and for cricket as a whole. It is great to have a pretty much full-strength side.”
Smith added: “It’s great that he’s now available. Any time someone comes back from [mental health issues], it’s a great thing.
“We love coming up against the best players, so it’s great to see him going to be on the plane. It certainly adds a lot to their depth. I think any team’s more dangerous when you’ve got someone like Ben Stokes playing.
“We’re excited and I’m glad personally that he’s able to be back playing some cricket. It makes for a really good series.
“We always want to have all the best players playing in an Ashes series. That’s what it’s about for an Australian or an English cricketer. It’s the main tournament in the long format of the game for us.”
Buttler was speaking ahead of England’s second T20 World Cup game against Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi, which is live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am on Wednesday.
On their opponents, Buttler said: “They generally have a spin-heavy side and have lots of experience, including Shakib Al Hasan, who has played a huge number of T20 games around the world.
“Mustafizur Rahman is a threat with his left-arm seam bowling and excellent slower ball, while generally their batters are very strong square of the wicket. They are a team of match winners.
“We are expecting a really tough challenge.”
England vs Bangladesh
October 27, 2021, 10:30am
England torpedoed defending champions West Indies for 55 in their opening game, with Adil Rashid taking 4-2 from 2.2 overs and Man of the Match, Moeen Ali, 2-17 from four.
They could name an unchanged XI with pace bowler Mark Wood unlikely to be risked after having an injection in his left ankle last week.
Watch England take on Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am on Wednesday.