Ben Stokes unlikely to play first ODI against New Zealand: Trevor Bayliss
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Ben Stokes unlikely to play first ODI against New Zealand: Trevor Bayliss

England coach Trevor Bayliss has welcomed the return of Ben Stokes but said the all-rounder is unlikely to play the first ODI of the New Zealand series.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2018 16:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ben Stokes,Trevor Bayliss,New Zealand vs England
Ben Stokes, England all-rounder, last played a competitive match for Canterbury in New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition in December 2017. (AFP)

Ben Stokes has got a green signal to join England team in New Zealand after pleading not guilty to charges of affray in the court. However, England coach Trevor Bayliss is in no mood to rush the all-rounder’s return to the team’s playing XI.

The 26-year-old will not be considered for England’s remaining two matches in the ongoing T20 tri-series and there is a high possibility of him missing the first ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton on February 25 as well. He is expected to be included in the team for the second ODI in Mount Maunganui on February 28, though.

(Read | Ben Stokes pleads not guilty to affray charge over nightclub brawl)

“He hasn’t played for a while so it is not as if we can bring him straight back for these T20s,” Bayliss was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo in Wellington.

“I’d have to say it’s unlikely,” he said of Stokes’ involvement for the Hamilton ODI.

(Read | IPL 2018: Why Rajasthan Royals hired Ben Stokes for Rs. 12.5 crore)

“It’s just up and in the air. We’ll have to wait and see how he is travelling, with the practice. We have got to get him up to speed and hopefully during this one-day series we can get him back into the team,” the coach said.

Stokes has not played for England since last September, but he did feature in six limited-overs matches for New Zealand domestic side Canterbury. Bayliss, though, is not taking that into account and will take a decision on his return only after observing his current net form.

(Read | Kagiso Rabada fined for taunting Shikhar Dhawan during India vs South Africa 5th ODI)

“In the past, he’s been out with injuries and coming back sooner than we think. That’s the type of character he is and it doesn’t take him long at all to get back up to speed.”

The England coach admitted that the team did miss the services of Stokes despite their 4-1 drubbing of Australia in recently-concluded ODI series.

“One of the biggest things we’ve missed over the summer has been the combinations we’ve been able to play. Especially in the one-dayers and T20s. We’ve been able to have six bowlers before which gives the captain plenty of different options. We’ve been down to just the five bowlers,” he said.

Stokes’ case has been now referred to Bristol Crown Court, with a first hearing scheduled on March 12. He is expected to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after being bought by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping sum of Rs 12.5 crore in the mega auction.

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 16:46 IST