Report: Durham Welcome Back England Captain for Crucial Match

Ben Stokes Poised for Championship Return with Durham

Stokes Returns to County Cricket

England Test captain Ben Stokes is set to make his long-awaited return to the County Championship, playing for Durham against Lancashire this Friday at Stanley Park, Blackpool (11:00 BST). This will be Stokes’ first Championship appearance in two years, having last featured for Durham in May 2022.

Preparation for England’s Summer Tests

As Stokes prepares for England’s Test series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka later this summer, his participation in this four-day Division One match marks a crucial step in his return to form. “I suggest if you’ve got a few days over the weekend, you get yourself down to Blackpool to watch the great Ben Stokes’ return for Durham,” encouraged Ryan Campbell, the club’s head coach.

Focus on Fitness and All-Rounder Role

Opting out of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA next month, Stokes is prioritising his fitness, particularly after his winter knee surgery. Despite playing all five Tests during England’s tour of India, he managed to bowl only five overs throughout the series, all in the final Test. His return to county cricket provides a valuable opportunity to regain his all-rounder prowess.

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Opportunities Before the First Test

Durham’s match against Lancashire is the first of potentially four red-ball games Stokes could feature in before England’s Test series opener against the West Indies at Lord’s on 10 July. Last summer, Stokes abstained from county cricket to manage his knee injury ahead of the Ashes. His last stint with Durham in 2022 included a remarkable 161 off 88 balls against Worcestershire at New Road and a 4-72 performance against Middlesex at Lord’s.

Excitement at Durham

Durham is eagerly anticipating Stokes’ return, with Australian head coach Ryan Campbell expressing the team’s excitement. “Suddenly there’s just this air of excitement around the place just when he walks in the room,” Campbell shared with BBC Radio Newcastle. “You want to play against the best players in the world. But to have one of those in our own team, to show us the way, his experiences, it’s unbelievable.”

As Durham prepares to welcome back one of the world’s premier cricketers, fans and players alike are set for an exhilarating few days of cricket.

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