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England players not thinking about Ben Stokes' possible return, says Mark Wood

By Pti

London, October 17: England pacer Mark Wood has asserted that Ben Stokes' potential late inclusion into the Ashes squad, after the all-rounder returned to nets earlier this week, has "not once" crossed any player's mind, saying that the main concern remains his recovery.

In July, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had announced that the star all-rounder was taking an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to focus on his mental wellbeing while also recovering from a finger injury he had suffered during the first leg of the IPL.

He missed the home series against India and wasn't included in the T20 World Cup and Ashes squads.

However, the 30-year-old posted a video on his social media of his return to training earlier this week, giving rise to speculation that he could still feature in the five-Test series which is due to begin in Brisbane on December 8.

"Not once among any of the players has Stokesy been mentioned," Wood was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"The one thing at the forefront of everyone's minds is they just want him to be all right. No one wants to even think past that.

"We just want him to be himself and feel right and happy and stuff like that. So not once has it crossed anyone's mind about the Ashes," he added.

England are the reigning ODI champion and Wood said the side has the potential to become the holders of the T20 World Cup as well.

"We've got a huge chance and we've got a great team. Everybody talks about a four-year cycle for the next (ODI) World Cup but I still feel like we're in that (2019) cycle.

"There's very similar players. Whoever's come in has got up to speed quickly, has got into the team ethos and the way the team plays," Wood said.

"I feel we've got a good time now as a one-day side to cement something pretty special. The 50-over competition had a brilliant effect, so it would be great to continue that," he added.

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Story first published: Sunday, October 17, 2021, 9:20 [IST]
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