Steve Smith relishes prospect of Ben Stokes battle
Steve Smith shrugged off concerns that a lingering elbow injury will limit his effectiveness in the Ashes series against England and said he is relishing the return of Ben Stokes to international cricket.
Stokes was added to England’s squad for the Ashes on Monday after initially being left off the list as he continues to recover from mental health issues that had sidelined him since June.
But Smith welcomed the all-rounder’s inclusion for the series, which is scheduled to begin on December 8 in Brisbane. “It’s great that he’s now available,” said Smith.
“Anytime someone comes back from (mental health issues) it’s a great thing and we love coming up against the best players, so it’s great to see him going to be on the plane.
“I think any team’s more dangerous when you’ve got someone like Ben Stokes playing.
“It certainly adds a lot to their depth, but we’re excited and I’m glad personally that he’s able to be back playing some cricket.”
Smith is currently in the Gulf participating in the competition despite lingering issues with his left elbow, but the former Australia captain is confident he will have few fitness concerns by the time of the Ashes series.
Teammate Jos Buttler welcomed the news of Stokes’ return. “It’s a massive boost for everyone,” Stokes said. “First and foremost for Ben to be in a position where he’s happy and healthy, both physically and mentally, to resume his cricket career is brilliant. Everyone will be delighted to see him back. It’s a massive boost for England and the Ashes and for cricket as a whole.”