England's Cumbrian World Cup star Ben Stokes has been named No.2 to skipper Joe Root for the forthcoming Ashes series which starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Stokes, from Cockermouth, returns to the leadership role he was stripped of after his part in a late-night brawl in September 2017. He missed that winter’s Ashes series as a result before being cleared on a charge of affray in Bristol Crown Court last summer.

He has long enjoyed the full support of his team-mates and coaching staff and was quite brilliant in England’s World Cup campaign, culminating in his man-of-the-match performance in the final.

Being handed the chance to reclaim his post as Root’s deputy, a role previously taken by Jos Buttler, effectively closes a loop which opened almost two years ago outside Mbargo nightclub.

His appointment was ratified following the recommendations of Ashley Giles, managing director of men’s cricket, and chief executive Tom Harrison.

Giles said of the player: “Ben is highly respected within the team environment. He is a natural leader and has a great understanding of the game.

“He will offer tremendous support to Joe Root as part of the senior playing group.

“Over the past 18 months, he has come a long way and has shown a great degree of maturity on and off the field.

"I have no doubts that the added responsibility will also help him to continue his rise as a world class all-rounder in the Test arena.”

Stokes was in Cumbria on Saturday, returning to Cockermouth Cricket Club where, as an up-and-coming youngster, he learned the game. He was also made a life member of the Cumbrian club.

Meanwhile, England are preparing to unleash Jofra Archer on the Ashes after fast-tracking the paceman into their Test squad.

The twin decision, along with the appointment of Stokes, represent a ringing endorsement for two men who arguably did more than anyone to deliver England’s historic World Cup final triumph over New Zealand earlier this month, stepping up with bat and ball in an unprecedented super over finish.

Archer, who has yet to play at Test level, was not expected to take on Australia until later in the series due to a side strain picked up during the tournament but returned to action for Sussex on Friday night and will join up with the team at Edgbaston.

Whether or not he takes the field on Thursday remains to be seen - with the selection panel naming an expanded group of 14 including a host of pace bowling options - but the temptation will surely be strong following his star-making performances over recent months.

The 24-year-old considers himself better with red ball than white - no mean feat after taking 20 wickets at 23.05 in the World Cup - and comfortably tops 90mph on a regular basis.

His performance in claiming 2-21 on his comeback against Surrey suggest his recent break in Barbados has done little to dull his threat.

Ten of the 11 players who defeated Ireland in a roller-coaster Test at Lord’s last week are included, joined by Stokes, Archer, Buttler and James Anderson, who were all rested for that match.

Anderson has been recovering from a calf injury suffered on duty for Lancashire but England have indicated that he is progressing well and expect their record wicket taker to be ready for action.

Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad used the opportunity to press hard for inclusion in Birmingham, taking 6-17 and 4-19 respectively as the Irish were demolished for just 38 on Friday, with Olly Stone and left-armer Sam Curran completing the array of pace options.