England: Paul Collingwood backs 'outstanding' Ben Stokes call-up

Ben Stokes
Stokes took 10 wickets, including seven in one innings, to help Durham to victory against Sussex

Durham captain Paul Collingwood has backed all-rounder Ben Stokes to break into the England squad on the back of excellent Championship form.

Stokes was overlooked for the two Sri Lanka Tests, having played four in Australia last winter.

He made up for the disappointment with 10 wickets in Durham's 309-run win against Sussex and now hopes for a recall against India next month.

"I hope England call him up. He's ready," Collingwood told BBC Newcastle.

"He's fit and his bowling has been outstanding. He needs to be playing for England. That's where he belongs.

"I don't know why he wasn't involved in the first two Tests."

Stokes, the son of former Whitehaven rugby league coach Ged Stokes, has not featured in any format for England since injuring his wrist by punching a locker during the Twenty20 series against West Indies in March,

But he was one of few successes on the winter Ashes tour, scoring 279 runs including a maiden Test century, and taking 15 wickets.

Meanwhile, Durham have now recorded back-to-back wins in the County Championship, after waiting until June for a first success of the campaign.

They took nine wickets in the final session of the third day's play to move to the brink of victory before finishing Sussex off on the final morning.

"It was a really great performance throughout the match, but to bowl so well in nearly 40 overs was brilliant. It's a pity we could not have finished it off then," added Collingwood.

"It was a dominant win, to win by 300 runs. Confidence is high and we want to keep it going and keep putting teams under pressure.

"We do seem to be getting better with the ball as the season has gone on although it has been hard to gauge at times because of the time we have lost to the weather.

"I think we could have beaten Middlesex if it had not been for the rain. It was a tight win against Lancashire and now this."

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