Mon, 30 Jan 2023

Abu Dhabi [UAE], November 26 (ANI): England Test skipper Ben Stokes said that the team needs to be careful to not rush pacer Jofra Archer's return to the sport and expressed hope that he will recover fully for the prestigious Ashes series against Australia, which will start in June next year.

A series of injuries kept the bowler out of competitive cricket since last March. But this week, he made his return for England Lions against England in a practice match ahead of the Test series against Pakistan starting on December 1.

"It has been great to see him out here when we joined up with the Lions," Stokes was quoted as saying to Sky Sports.

"It is great to see him back running with the ball in his hand. He is one of the superstars of the international game and it is great to see him running back in, bowling fast and it is really good to have him back around the group as well."Archer's return to international cricket is targeted for next year's Ashes series.

"I think he is just really excited to be back. He has obviously had a long time off with injury and as exciting as it is we have got to be careful not to rush him back as we do not want to see Jofra Archer on the sidelines for this amount of [time] again," Stokes said.

"That is the plan, hopefully, we can have Jofra fit and ready especially for 'The Ashes'. That is something that we are looking at for Jof and it would be great to have him available for selection for that," he added.

Another exciting addition to England's Test squad for the series against Pakistan is 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who could become the youngest man to play a Test for England if he is given his cap next month.

Stokes termed him a "rare talent".

"We have seen him as one of those very rare talents. To have someone at such a young age be so noticeable as a cricketer with the way that he bowls and the way that he bats. We saw it as a very good opportunity to get him into the squad, get him around the group, get him into the environment," Stokes said.

"He is a fantastic talent, he loves cricket, and he just spends all his time shadow-batting in his room. He absolutely loves it. I am really excited to have him into the squad, get him round the group, and see what he has got," Stokes concluded his point.

The skipper however warned that the youngster is still developing and should not be scrutinized too much at this stage of his career.

"We are also fully aware that he's not the finished project yet. I think it is important for his inclusion not be to be looked into too much," Stokes said.

"We see this as an opportunity to get someone as talented as Rehan into the squad, nurture him, and then who knows where we could be in two to three years' time?""If we feel like we want to chuck him a Test cap then we are in a position to do that as well," concluded the skipper. (ANI)

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