Return of Stokes just tonic England need, says Malan
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