England all-rounder Ben Stokes out for up to six months

Ben Stokes
Stokes hit four hundreds in all competitions during the 2011 season

Durham and England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be out for around six months after undergoing surgery on his right index finger this week.

The 20-year-old has now had three operations, and is expected to return to action for the start of the 2012 County Championship season.

"My priority now will be to work hard on my rehabilitation over the next six months," said Stokes.

"I want to make sure I am fully fit and available to start the season."

He added: "It's always frustrating to be on the sidelines for any length of time and I am naturally disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to be considered for selection for England this winter."

Stokes, who made his England bow against Ireland in August, will spend the off-season recouperating prior to three months of graded recovery and rehabilitation work.

International recognitition has come swiftly for the New Zealand-born player, following impressive form for Durham last summer.

Five sixes in one over against Hampshire was a highlight amid a streak of four centuries for the county before suffering the initial finger problem against Lancashire in June.

Shorn of his bowling due to the injury, Stokes impressed with the England Lions with 73 against Sri Lanka at Derby, and was soon drafted into the full one-day side.

He managed double-figure hauls against India and West Indies at the Oval, but was then released by the national squad to receive treatment on the injury.