Allrounder in line for first Durham appearance since 2018 after finger injury
Stokes’ injury had initially been expected to keep him out of action for up to 12 weeks, or early July, but his recovery from surgery has been smooth. “I’m able to bowl, I’m able to get in the gym and I’m able to hit some balls again,” Stokes wrote in his Mirror column last week. “I’m at an exciting point of my recovery where full-on training is not that far away and then I can start thinking about playing in a match again.”
Details of Stokes’ comeback are yet to be confirmed by the ECB and he could target one of the back-to-back 2nd XI T20s against Lancashire on June 14, but Durham have four fixtures in the Blast from June 15-20 and he is likely to return in one of them.
Players selected for the white-ball squads and not involved in the squad for the second New Zealand Test will be available to appear in up to six rounds of the Blast, depending on their respective teams’ fixture lists. That means Buttler and Stokes are both likely to play more games in the Blast than in the Hundred this summer, with England’s Test players set to play a maximum of three group games and the knockout stages in the new 100-ball competition.
Buttler – whose last appearance for Lancashire in any format was on Finals Day in 2018 – is set to play the first of his six games on Wednesday afternoon against Derbyshire, in a strong Lancashire side that will also feature Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Saqib Mahmood and New Zealand’s Finn Allen.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98