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Stokes will be made to wait for England return – Bayliss

by Wisden Staff 15 minute read

Ben Stokes may have rejoined the England set-up but Trevor Bayliss said he is unlikely to play in England’s first ODI of the New Zealand series.

The all-rounder’s last competitive match was on December 22 in New Zealand before developments in his legal case forced his return home.

Stokes will be tried for affray after indicating his not guilty plea at the Magistrates Court on Tuesday. The ECB have supported Stokes’ wish to defend himself in court and said he will not be required to return for the first hearing at Bristol Crown Court on March 12.

Stokes will join up with the T20 squad on Friday, earlier than the rest of the ODI squad who arrive on Sunday, won’t play in the final T20 of the tri-series qualifying stage and probably not in the first ODI of the New Zealand series on February 25 either.

“He hasn’t played for a while,” said Bayliss. “It is not as if we can maybe bring him straight back for these T20s, for example. We have got to get him up to speed and hopefully during this one-day series we can get him back into the team.

“We’ll have to wait and see how he is with travel, with practice. The reason we are getting him out as soon as we can is that we can get him up to speed so he is available for selection as early as possible.”

“Knowing Stokesy, he trains harder than anyone else. It’ll just be something we have to keep an eye on as the practice days go. That’s the idea – to try and get him out here before some of the other one-day boys so that he can have an extra few days.”

Bayliss stressed how much Stokes had been missed

Bayliss said the team have missed Stokes’ all-round abilities in all formats.

“To me, apart from the way he plays, he’s a quality batter and bowler and our best fielder and one of the leaders in our squad. I think one of the biggest things we’ve missed over the summer has been the combinations we’ve been able to play.

“Right throughout the summer we’ve been down to five bowlers, especially in the one-dayers and T20s.

“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.”

The England head coach said returning to the field would be a relief for his star all-rounder.

“There’s been players in the past who’ve had off-field issues and are able to put that aside and concentrate on cricket. Ben is one of those types of guys but only time will tell. I’ve got a feeling he will be one of the guys who can put it aside and perform.”

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