England's Ben Stokes to step up comeback and play as specialist batsman for Durham v Yorkshire
England all-rounder Ben Stokes will step up his comeback after knee surgery by playing as a specialist batsman for Durham in the NatWest T20 Blast against Yorkshire tonight.
Stokes, who had to have an operation after feeling discomfort in last month's first Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley, is hoping to be back for England when they face Pakistan at Lord's in the first match of that series on July 14.
He was on the field again for the first time on Thursday, sharing 12th man duties with Mark Wood - another Durham and England player on the comeback trail after injury - against county champions Yorkshire on the final day at Chester-le-Street.
Stokes tweeted on Friday morning he was set to be back in the team this evening, and the England and Wales Cricket Board quickly confirmed that plan, as well as a schedule for fast bowler Wood's return too.
"Looking forward to getting back out on the park tonight for @DurhamCricket against Yorkshire," Stokes tweeted.
Soon afterwards, an ECB spokesman clarified the pace-bowling all-rounder will play for his county rather than in a club match for Newcastle on Saturday - as was being considered.
"Stokes will play as a batsman tonight for Durham in the T20 against Yorkshire," said the spokesman.
"He will not play club cricket tomorrow."
Wood has not been played since last October's Test match against Pakistan in Dubai, since when he has had two operations on his left ankle.
He too will begin his return as a batsman, but hopes to be fit to bowl again competitively by the middle of next month.
The ECB spokesman added: "Mark Wood will play as a batsman for Durham against Sri Lanka A, starting on Sunday.
"He will do his bowling during the intervals.
"If all goes to plan, he will make his full return in the championship fixture against Lancashire on July 16."