England have been handed a huge lift ahead of the winter Ashes (Ashes outright – Australia 2/7, England 9/2, draw 8/1) series after Ben Stokes was added to the travelling party following his break from the sport.

The all-rounder, widely regarded as one of the best players on the planet, announced in late July that he was to take an extended leave from the sport owing to his mental health and wellbeing.

He was also struggling with injury after fracturing his finger while playing in the Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals.

Those problems caused him to miss England’s home Test series defeat against India in August and September as the batting line up – barring captain Joe Root – lacked spark throughout.

He was also left out of England’s T20 World Cup (Outright – England 11/4) squad for the ongoing tournament in Oman and the United Arab Emirates after having an operation to remove two screws and scar tissue from the troublesome finger.

However, he has now been declared fit to play for England against Australia as they seek to spring a major surprise Down Under.

Stokes will travel with the rest of the squad and the backup Lions outfit on November 4 in preparation for the first Test which gets underway in Brisbane on December 8.

“I had a break to prioritise my mental wellbeing and I got my finger sorted,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing my mates and being on the field with them. I’m ready for Australia.”

Stokes will be hoping to recapture the form that propelled him to superstardom in 2019.

After almost single-handedly helping England to win the ODI World Cup, the 30-year-old transferred that form over to red-ball cricket.

His unbeaten knock of 135 as England chased victory at Headingley against the Aussies went down as one of the greatest run chases in English Ashes history.

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