England star Ben Stokes posts video of him bowling in the nets as hopes of a dramatic return ahead of the upcoming Ashes series in Australia gather pace
- Ben Stokes has not played any cricket since taking an indefinite break in July
- His decision was linked to his mental health, but he injured his finger in April too
- Last week, Sportsmail reported Stokes posted a video of him batting in the nets
- The Ashes starts on December 8, with England flying to Australia on November 4
Ben Stokes has sparked further hopes of a dramatic Ashes return after posting a video of him bowling in the nets on social media.
The talismanic all-rounder has not played any cricket since taking an indefinite hiatus in July to protect his mental health, having injured his finger in April too.
But after releasing a video of him batting last week, Stokes has given fans fresh faith he could return in time for the series against historic rivals Australia.
Ben Stokes shared a video of him bowling in the nets to spark hope of a dramatic Ashes return
Stokes has not played any cricket since taking an indefinite hiatus from the sport in July
The Ashes gets underway on December 8, with the England squad flying out Down Under on November 4, two-and-a-half weeks after the bowling video was posted.
The clip shows right-arm seam bowler Stokes, 30, running up and delivering the ball, letting out a grunt as he does so, before grabbing another ball on his walk back, presumably to continue practicing.
It comes just three days after Sportsmail reported on his private batting session at the indoor nets at the Emirates Riverside in Chester-le-Street, the home ground of his county side Durham.
In that video, he struck several underarm throwdowns from England physio Craig de Weymarn, who ventured up north to check on his progress after a second surgical procedure on his left index finger two weeks ago.
England have publicly stated on numerous occasions they will not put any pressure on Stokes to return before he is ready, but performance director Mo Bobat admitted Stokes’ gradual return was ‘hugely positive’.
The 30-year-old star also posted a video of him batting in the Durham indoor nets last week
He said: ‘As people are probably noticing more broadly, and we have noticed internally… to see his energy and excitement return, and him trusting his finger again – which is really important – is hugely positive.
‘Ultimately, given what he’s experienced and where he has been it is important that he and we move at the right pace for him.
‘There is certainly no expectation or pressure from us. It’s a case of us supporting Ben physically and however else we need to support him, so that he can continue to progress at the rate he would like to and at which he feels comfortable.’
Stokes, whose magnificent century at Headingley two years ago inspired one of the great Ashes Test wins of all time, insisted he was ‘not even thinking about cricket’ last month.
However, he has now been buoyed by an operation by Leeds-based consultant Doug Campbell on October 4, which allowed him to grip a bat handle properly for the first time since he fractured his finger in the Indian Premier League six months ago.