Ashes: Nathan Lyon ‘expects’ England hero Ben Stokes to play in Australia

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England’s Ben Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket in July (Picture: Getty)

Australia bowler Nathan Lyon ‘expects’ Ben Stokes to return for England during this winter’s Ashes series.

All-rounder Stokes was not named in England’s 17-player squad and continues to take an indefinite break from cricket for mental health reasons and to fully recover from a finger injury.

Stokes’ last match was on July 26 in The Hundred competition and he will play no part in England’s bid to win the T20 World Cup.

But the 30-year-old posted videos of himself training last week and says he is now ‘pain free’, having struggled with the finger injury for several months.

‘I’m expecting him to come. I hope he is. You want to play against the best players in the world,’ Australia spinner Lyon said.

‘Stokesy is the best all-rounder in the world. He’s an X-factor, a game changer, and you want to play against these sort of players.’

Last week, England fast bowler Mark Wood insisted there had been no talks over Stokes returning during the 2021-22 Ashes series.

Nathan Lyon says the all-rounder could return for England (Picture: Getty)

‘With Ben it wasn’t a case of just about the cricket, it was a wider thing. Hopefully the other things are going well and the cricket can just come back,’ Wood said.

‘He’s not going to lose it overnight, he’s a quality player. He’ll get back into it, it’s just whether he’s feeling good and I hope that’s the case.

‘I haven’t spoken to him, I’ve sort of left him to it, I’ve tried to call him a couple of times, but he’s been keeping his head down.

‘It’s great to see him hitting balls again, but if ever he wants to chat, he can of course give me a bell and of course I’ll speak to him.

Stokes returned to training last week (Picture: Getty)

‘Not once among any of the players has Stokesy has been mentioned, the thought among all on the players is that they just want him to be alright, no one wants to think past that.

‘They want him to feel alright and feel happy so not once has it crossed anyone’s mind about the Ashes.’

The first Ashes Test is scheduled to start on December 8 in Brisbane. Australia retained the Ashes after drawing 2-2 with England in 2019.

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