Re­turn of Stokes just tonic Eng­land need, says Malan

The New Zealand Herald - - SUPER SPORT -

The re­turn of Ben Stokes will give the English Twenty20 tri-se­ries squad a ma­jor pick-me-up, bats­man Dawid Malan says.

The Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has con­firmed the Ki­wi­born Stokes will ar­rive in Hamil­ton to­day af­ter ap­pear­ing at Bris­tol Mag­is­trates’ Court on Tues­day charged with af­fray, along with two other men.

The 26-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, re­lat­ing to an in­ci­dent out­side a night­club in Bris­tol in Septem­ber last year.

He was placed on un­con­di­tional bail.

Malan said he couldn’t wait to get Stokes back into the fold, af­ter the all­rounder sat out all of their cricket on An­tipodean soil this sum­mer.

That in­cluded the side’s 4-0 Ashes test de­feat.

Stokes is not be­ing con­sid­ered for se­lec­tion for Sun­day’s must-win clash against the Black Caps in Hamil­ton.

But when he does make his re­turn, po­ten­tially dur­ing the New Zealand ODIs, Malan said it would be a boon for his team­mates.

“Stokes is prob­a­bly one of the best all­rounders in the world, if not the best all­rounder in the world,” the 30-year-old Malan said. “He’s pretty much a freak when he gets go­ing.

“The con­fi­dence he brings to the team and the skill set he brings are un­be­liev­able — you know you’ve got a match-win­ner there.”

Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss said Stokes needs to get back up to speed be­fore he can fea­ture in the start­ing XI. “At this stage I’d have to say it was un­likely [he’ll play the first ODI]. We’ll have to wait and see how he is with travel, with prac­tice.”

Bayliss said Stokes would bring as much with the ball as with the bat.

“Right through­out the sum­mer we’ve been down to five bowlers, es­pe­cially in the one-day­ers and T20s,” Bayliss added. “We’ve been able to have six bowlers be­fore, which gives the cap­tain plenty of dif­fer­ent op­tions. I think that’s what we’ve missed the most apart from his in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances.”

Stokes is ex­pected to fea­ture in Eng­land’s two tests against New Zealand next month. — Reuters

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