Ben Stokes: New England Test captain set for County Championship return with Durham this week

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Ben Stokes: New England Test captain set for County Championship return with Durham this week
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New England Test captain Ben Stokes is set to return from injury in the County Championship this week, while Joe Root is also due to play for the first time since resigning the captaincy.

Stokes was appointed as Root’s successor last week and is due to be unveiled to the media at his home ground, the Riverside, today.

Stokes returned from March’s tour of the Caribbean – on which he had a heavier bowling workload than scheduled – with a knee injury. He saw a specialist but did not require surgery and is now ready to return to action for Durham, although it is unclear how much bowling he will do against Worcestershire this week.

After an extended period of rest, Root is also set to play this week, with Yorkshire facing Essex at Chelmsford. There, he will join the in-form Dawid Malan and Harry Brook – both of whom are vying for England places – in the visitors’ middle order.

After failing to reach the fitness levels required to take the field against the West Indies, Ollie Robinson is yet to play for Sussex this season due to a combination of illness and injury. But he could play against Middlesex this week.

Ready to return: New England Test captain Ben Stokes will play for Durham against Worcestershire this week (Getty Images)
Ready to return: New England Test captain Ben Stokes will play for Durham against Worcestershire this week (Getty Images)

Stuart Broad’s Nottinghamshire have a bye week, but Jimmy Anderson may play again for Lancashire against Warwickshire, who could have Chris Woakes for the first time this season.

Both Woakes and Robinson will be keen to prove their readiness for the Test series against New Zealand, which begins at Lord’s on June 2.

The expectation is that a squad will be named around 18 May, which leaves two more chances for players to impress in the County Championship. Exactly who will select that squad remains to be seen, although the new managing director Rob Key is set to be part of an interim panel.

With Dan Lawrence currently nursing a hamstring injury, candidates are queuing up to take a place in England’s batting order. As well as Malan and Brook, Josh Bohannon, James Bracey, Ben Duckett and Tom Haines are among those to have impressed so far this season.

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