Nathan Lyon expects England all-rounder Ben Stokes to play in Ashes series

Every cricket fan on the planet wants England all-rounder Ben Stokes to feature in the upcoming Ashes series – even the Aussie bowlers.

England cricket fans have been endlessly refreshing Ben Stokes’ Instagram account these past couple of weeks, eagerly following his recovery from finger surgery.

Earlier this month, the talented all-rounder was not named in England’s squad for the 2021/22 Ashes series having recently decided to take an indefinite break from the sport to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

Stokes has also been slowly recovering from a finger injury he sustained during the first leg of the Indian Premier League back in April.

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But last week, the 30-year-old uploaded an image to Instagram showing how he can finally grip a bat for the first time in six months.

It gave cricket fans a glimmer of hope – could Stokes make a quick recovery ahead of the Ashes tour?

A couple of days later, the two-time Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World recipient shared a clip of his first net session after surgery – the murmurs grew in volume.

Then on Wednesday, Stokes uploaded a five-minute video of his cracking pull shots and square drives in the nets, each shot accompanied by the glorious sound of leather on willow.

“Everyone has a different way of describing progress … my progress is that I am finally pain-free and can hold my bat properly when batting,” he captioned the post.

“So much more confidence now, and I’m only two weeks on from my 2nd surgery. Shout out to my coaches, all the physios and the surgeon who have helped in this short period so far in my recovery.”

Needless to say, the Ashes spectacle would be considerably more enticing with Stokes in the England line-up.

Every cricket pundit on the planet wants the all-rounder to feature in some capacity during the five-Test series – even the Aussies are eager for him to fly Down Under next month.

Stokes terrorised Australia’s bowlers during the 2019 Ashes series, most notably in the unforgettable Headingley triumph.

The left-hander combined with England No. 11 Jack Leach for an unbeaten 76-run partnership to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon probably still has nightmares about that legendary knock – he infamously botched a run out in the dying moments before umpire Joel Wilson denied him an LBW shout that Hawkeye suggested would have crashed into leg stump.

Amazon docu-series The Test showed footage of an inconsolable Lyon in the changerooms, struggling to come to terms with the shock defeat.

But the off-spinner is itching for another crack at the England vice-captain.

Speaking to reporters at Sydney’s Hurstville Oval on Thursday, Lyon said he expects Stokes to be parachuted into England’s squad, suggesting he was eager for another opportunity to take on one of the sport’s finest athletes.

“I‘m expecting him to come. I hope he is. You want to play against the best players in the world,” he said.

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

Lyon suffered a mild concussion while fielding during a three-day intra-squad trial match in Sydney this week.

The 33-year-old was withdrawn from the remainder of the warm-up fixture as a precaution, but will still feature in next week’s Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at Drummoyne Oval, which gets underway on Wednesday.

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