Bagging the Man of the Match award in his very second match after his 5-month exile from cricket, Ben Stokes has yet proved his worth again in the England cricket team. In the first match against New Zealand Stokes scored only 12 runs with the bat and claimed 2-43 from his eight overs which the hosts won by three wickets. He backed it up with an even better performance in the second game, scoring an unbeaten 63 and also picked up two key wickets.
his return brought an excitement to a number of former England cricketers including former captain Nasser Hussain, who believes Stokes will only get better with time. “It was not to end in a win but it was so nearly a fairy-tale return for Stokes".Hussain was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail after England's defeat in Hamilton.
“But above all, he would have just wanted to get a game for England under his belt. This is what he does. He’s an all-action cricketer. And this is probably the first day he has been able to put the incident in Bristol to the back of his mind and get on with his job,” Hussain further said.
Stokes had not played any international cricket following his involvement in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol in September 2017 after which he was arrested. Later, he was charged with affray and had to appear in Bristol Magistrates’ Court on February 13.
After pleading guilty, his case was referred to Bristol Crown Court with the next hearing scheduled on March 12. With the court giving him the green signal to play cricket, he was then named in England’s squad for upcoming five-match series against New Zealand.
His return to cricket had mixed reactions from several England cricketers. While Hussain is now happy with his return, Mike Atherton had earlier slammed ECB for including him in the squad for the ODI series.