Stokes hits comeback trail for Durham

Ben Stokes is set to move a step closer to an international return on Friday when he features as a specialist batsman for Durham in the NatWest T20 Blast.

All-rounder Stokes has not batted or bowled in a competitive fixture since tearing cartilage in his right knee during England's first-Test victory over Sri Lanka last month.

However, he was given special dispensation to field for Durham on the final day of their County Championship fixture with Yorkshire on Thursday and will now bat against the same opposition in a T20.

Stokes' injury ensured he missed out on a place in England's squads for the ongoing one-day international series with Sri Lanka and the T20s that follow.

Yet he will hope to prove his fitness as a batsman and bowler ahead of the opening Test against Pakistan, which begins at Lord's on July 14.

Stokes' Durham and England team-mate Mark Wood is also nearing a return from ankle surgery.

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