Friday, 27 November 2015

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Durham CC ace Ben Stokes targeting return for start of season

Injured England youngster Ben Stokes believes he is on course to return to action for Durham for the start of next season in April.

Ben Stokes photo
Ben Stokes

The Cumbrian starlet’s finger has responded well to treatment following surgery in the United States.

He underwent a three-hour operation on his right index finger, designed to correct a complex fracture dislocation which had failed to heal satisfactorily following surgery in the UK.

And while he cannot yet be sure he will be ready for the start of the county championship campaign, he is counting his blessings that he went under the knife as soon as he did – for the third time – on the digit, injured last season when fielding for Durham.

“The finger is looking a lot better than it was. It’s been two months next week since the operation in America and I’ve had physio on it every second day, manipulating and massaging it,” said Stokes, who this week returned home to Cockermouth from Durham for Christmas.

“I definitely think it has progressed and I should be fit for the start of the season. I’ve been doing a lot of running and biking, but I can’t put any weight on it, as there’s still the potential risk of damaging it.

“I can’t get myself down over it. One positive is that I won’t miss out on any more cricket. If I’d had it later I could have missed half the season.”

Surgery meant he missed out on the chance to compete for an England place this winter, though in the longer-term it should be good news for his international prospects.

Despite being sidelined, Stokes, 20, is still in the news and was last month named Cumbria Sports Personalty of the Year – much to his surprise, parents Ged and Deb managing to keep the secret from him.

“Obviously, growing up in Cumbria it is nice to be recognised,” he added. “I didn’t expect it at all.”

The all-rounder has been joined at Durham by a new west Cumbrian prospect, Andrew Ireland, from Distington.

The 16-year-old, who last term starred for Workington in the North Lancs League, recently took his first steps in to the pro game, signing a 12-month contract with Durham, where he will focus on their Academy and Under-17s side next season.

“I met him a couple of times last year and he’s a good little cricketer,” Stokes said. “He has talent with bat and ball, and if he sticks in and really wants cricket to be his career, it’s in his own hands.”



Is The Autumn Statement good news for Cumbria?

Yes - the enterprise zone jobs and airport flights are a fantastic boost

It's more positive than expected but could have been better

I agree with Jamie Reed, it is all smoke and mirrors

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