England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), on Wednesday, confirmed that their premier all-rounder Ben Stokes would be eligible to resume his international career, as well as be available for national selection once again. Head Coach Trevor Bayliss said the team and management is looking forward to seeing him back into action on the field.
Stokes has been out of action since a Bristol nightclub incident on September 25 last year and has been charged with affray in relation to an incident in Bristol by Criminal Prosecution Service.
However, a date yet to be determined for the court case, and due to which ECB has given Stokes the green signal to feature in the forthcoming New Zealand series, saying it would not be "fair" or "proportionate" to continue with the non-selection of the 26-year-old for a further undetermined period.
Later, ECB has confirmed in a statement that Stokes would join up the squad in New Zealand in February for the T20 tri-series, also involving Australia, starting with the first T20I on 13 Feb in Wellington.
According to a report in Cricbuzz, Bayliss said, “Happy he's been made available, players and coaches are looking forward to seeing him. He's raring to go, he's a cricketer first and foremost and he just wants to be out on the field playing. He understands the reasons why he hasn't been playing, same as the team and management, but he's looking forward to getting back on the park.”
The coach went to further added on the same, “They (other players) are looking forward to seeing him, he's a very popular member of the team and the squad. I'm sure they'll welcome him back with open arms. It was certainly something we'd much rather not have to deal with. But all credit to the players, once the game came around they were fully focused on playing. I've got admiration for those guys that they were able to see past that and get on with the cricket.”
He further reveals the reason why England does not bring Stokes back immediately for the rest of the ODIs against Australia, saying they want to give him some time to get his game back up to speed.
Bayliss concluded by saying, “I only found out last night myself but he hasn't played any cricket for a little while either so it was basically my thought that he should start in New Zealand. It allows him a little bit of time to get up to speed. I haven't even had an opportunity to speak to him yet about what his programme might be leading into that series but from our point of view his main focus going forward will probably be the New Zealand ODIs. What that might entail? We will have to a closer look at that over the next day or so and try to work out what's the best for him.”