Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket in July to focus on his mental health, while also recovering from a second operation on a broken finger, and was not included in coach Chris Silverwood‘s initial squad for the series.
But he is with the squad and took part in a training session in Queensland on Thursday.
“Ben’s been fully involved in training the last couple of days, I mean it’s been very light,” Root told a news conference.
“He’s had a bat, he’s had a bowl, taken some catches . He’s done his fielding work separately but it looks like he’s on track and it’s really exciting.”
Root warned against rushing Stokes, however.
“It’s managing that excitement and making sure that we don’t push him too hard and that he’s ready, as best as he can be, for that first game. I really hope he’s ready. It’s been remarkable to see how far he’s come. It looks very promising.
“Really nice to see him back involved and looking forward to getting him further involved as things progress.”
Root also confirmed that Stuart Broad, who has been sidelined with a torn calf, had bowled in the nets.
“It’s good to see him back and around things,” Root said.
Root and his team mates have been quarantining in their rooms since arriving in Australia but are now allowed out in small groups for training sessions. They will be joined by England’s T20 World Cup players who were knocked out in the semi-final in dramatic fashion by New Zealand on Wednesday.
Root said the prospect of an Ashes series will be sufficient to lift those players after such crushing disappointment.
“It’s a huge series and one that everyone wants to be a part of to come here and have the opportunity to do something very special. They’ll be disappointed but it’s another challenge and a great opportunity.”