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Eoin Morgan to take it slow with Ben Stokes and backs Adil Rashid

England will not throw Ben Stokes in at the deep end on his return to international cricket, says Eoin Morgan.

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2018 18:24 IST
By Matthew Scott
By Matthew Scott
Omnisport
Eoin Morgan,Ben Stokes,Adil Rashid
England all-rounder Ben Stokes landed in New Zealand on Friday after entering a ‘not guilty’ plea to affray charges in a Bristol magistrate’s court for the September brawl outside a pub there.(Twitter )

Eoin Morgan has vowed to ease Ben Stokes back into international cricket after the star all-rounder returned to the fold ahead of their ODI series against New Zealand.

Stokes has only played briefly in New Zealand’s domestic 50-over tournament since a late-night incident in Bristol during England’s ODI series with West Indies last September.

(Read | New Zealand look to secure T20 tri-series final berth against England in Auckland)

After pleading not guilty to a charge of affray last week, Stokes has been released on bail and his case sent to Bristol Crown Court, with the first hearing - which he is not required to attend - scheduled for March 12, allowing him to resume his international career.

Stokes is highly unlikely to be considered for Sunday’s tri-series clash with New Zealand, in which England need a big win to make the final, and Stokes has even suggested that subsequent one-dayers against the Black Caps could see the Durham man eased back gently.

(Video - Ben Stokes arrives in New Zealand to join England cricket team)

“He’s far from fit and he would run a huge risk of getting injured,” Morgan told BBC Sport.

“He’ll take a few days to adjust to everything and hopefully be fit for the start of the one-day series [which begins on February 25].

“It’ll be a gauge, he hasn’t played in competitive cricket for quite some time now, so if his body does react in a way which we feel might not be fit for the start we’ll have no hesitation in easing him back in.”

(Read | ‘Hope top Indian players participate in Lankan Premier League’)

Another England player to court much attention in the week is Adil Rashid after the leg-spinner opted to ditch red-ball cricket at county and international level through 2018.

Rashid is a key cog in Morgan’s ODI and Twenty20 sides but has failed to cement his Test spot in 10 appearances in the longest format.

Morgan himself has not played first-class cricket since 2015 and has backed the Yorkshireman.

“It’s a very brave decision and the right one for him at the moment,” the captain said.

“T20 has gone through the roof and his focus with our World Cup next year and the World T20 in 2020 can only be a good thing for our white-ball cricket.”

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 18:24 IST