Former England captain Michael Vaughan has joined the bandwagon of players, present and former, to express excitement about Ben Stokes' return for the Ashes series. Vaughan feels Australia should be concerned, as the all-rounder is an imposing prospect.
Ben Stokes has announced his return to international cricket, claiming he is looking forward to joining his mates in Australia, and is ready for the Ashes. The seam-bowling all-rounder, who opted for a mental-health break in August, said he is prepared to play his best cricket this winter.
Writing in his column for The Telegraph, Michael Vaughan wrote that Australia should feel worried by the return of Ben Stokes, considering the all-rounder's Headingley heroics in 2019. Vaughan wrote:
"Crucially, he is also a player that Australia fear. The scars he inflicted on them at Headingley two years ago will not have fully healed, and the sight of him walking out at Brisbane - or wherever he manages to play his first Test - will send a few shivers up local spines."
Vaughan also noted that Stokes, who missed the last tour Down Under, will arrive in Australia with a point or two to prove after losing his only series in the country. The 46-year old added:
"Stokes also has unfinished business with the Aussies. Winning in Australia will be on the cricketing bucket list, and having missed the last series Down Under after the Bristol nightclub incident, I can completely understand how this was a series he felt he simply couldn't miss. He will not have wanted to go down in history as having only played one Test series in Australia."
Ben Stokes emerged on the scene eight years ago when England toured Australia for the 2013-14 Ashes series. The 30-year-old scored his maiden Test hundred in Perth, and was a rare silver lining for England in an otherwise disastrous tour. Eight years later, Stokes is one of the best all-format all-rounders in the game, and has delivered in big games and series.
Although Michael Vaughan has backed Australia to win the series, he thinks Stokes' return has offered England plenty of hope and optimism. Vaughan added:
"I would still make Australia clear favourites to win the series - remember, we only drew 2-2 on home soil, where we're strong, when we had him at his best - but it does feel like this has opened up a new world of possibilities."
The left-handed batsman played one of the greatest Ashes knocks in the memorable Leeds Test in 2019.
Chasing an improbable 359-run target, England looked down and out at 286-9. However, in the company of last man Jack Leach, Ben Stokes helped England pull off one of the most thrilling one-wicket heists in Test history. Thanks to Stokes' 135*, England could force a share of the spoils.