ENGLAND all-rounder Ben Stokes is on course to make a return to first-class cricket after over two months out of action with a self-inflicted injury.
The 22-year-old was a rare bright spark in England’s woeful Ashes tour but blemished a successful winter by breaking his wrist after punching a dressing room locker in a Twenty20 international in the West Indies in mid-March.
The injury required surgery and forced the talented youngster to miss the World Twenty20, but he has made a couple of low-key appearances following a period of rehabilitation.
Following encouraging knocks for Durham’s second XI side against their Nottinghamshire counterparts on Monday, he has been tipped to come back into the LV= County Championship reckoning this weekend.
Durham take on Nottinghamshire, starting on Sunday, and second XI coach Alastair Maiden believes Stokes could play a full part.
“He looks absolutely fine, no problems with his injury,” Maiden told said.
“I don’t think his injury is affecting his batting at all, he looks like he’s never left the crease really from the Ashes.
“In my eyes he (Stokes) is not far off being fit to play.”
Maiden did, however, add a note of caution.
“His bowling is progressing slowly,” he added. “There’s no problem batting, no problem fielding and it’s just about building his bowling back up but I can’t see any problem with him being available for that game (against Nottinghamshire).”