Ben Stokes was “emotional” on the back of his man-of-the-match performance against New Zealand in the second ODI in Mount Maunganui.
Stokes hit an unbeaten 63 in England’s chase of 224, after taking two wickets and contributing to two run-outs in his second outing since returning to England duty.
“It was a great feeling to be walking off the field there at the end not out, especially after a really commanding performance from the team.
“It was very satisfying for me. I was quite emotional walking off at the end. Tonight made me understand how much of a privilege it is to represent your country.
“It was a different feeling to what it is normally but it was a great feeling.
“I’ve been working hard at home making sure that when the opportunity came again to represent England I wasn’t going to let anyone down.
“When I got the nod, I wanted to expect to be asked to participate fully rather than be eased back into the team. I wouldn’t expect anything less of myself. There was relief, happiness and, obviously, it’s been a long time. Hopefully now this is a stepping stone on the road to trying to keep on helping England win games.
“We’ve got a massive summer ahead and the World Cup coming up after that as well so, hopefully, this is just the start of it.”
Stokes also spoke of his frustration at having to watch the Ashes on TV rather than playing a full part, thanks to the incident in Bristol last September.
“It was obviously frustrating to watch the Ashes,” he said. “I went through all the emotions as I would have done playing but there’s not a lot I can change about that now.
“I’ve been following all the cricket that all the lads have been playing but what I have to do now is focus on going forward.
Stokes has been in training over the winter but is clearly shy of match practice and has found the return to bowling especially challenging.
“I think the bowling has felt the hardest to get back to where I want it to be,” he said. “I’m working really hard to get it back to where I want it to be. It’s nice to be contributing wickets but I don’t think I’m quite at the level I want to be yet.
“The day after the first game I was a little bit sore and to be honest I was really stiff coming back for my second spell today.
“There’s nothing like match overs. You try to replicate everything you can in training but it’s that extra adrenalin you get playing and that extra intensity does have an effect on the body when you haven’t had it for a while. The body’s feeling a lot better than it did after the first game.”