Ben Stokes made an international return after 5 months of exile due to some unforeseen circumstances. They were all the more tough on him as it became increasing intriguing for the England all-rounder the more his involvement in the Bristol brawl became more and more evident.
Surpassing the judgment and now free Stokes' made a winning return to his team. All round contributions have just increased his value as a player, however, former cricketers are saying that he has a lot to deliver after a certain "Ashes Circus".
On the other side of things, England Test skipper Joe Root is still mum when questioned regarding Ben Stokes' possibility as the vice-captain of the side.
When Joe Root was announced as the skipper of the Test side after Cook resigned, Andrew Strauss, Director, England Cricket said: " He has real presence and influence within the team environment that serve as a great source of support for Joe."
However, Stokes' involvement in the Bristol brawl and the investigation which followed meant that England played the Ashes series with James Anderson playing that role in Stokes' absence. The ECB, however, promised to hand the role over to Stokes after his return which now is yet to be confirmed.
Stokes is likely to return to the Test side later this month for the two Test series against New Zealand which gives England a decision to make but Root confirmed he has not yet discussed the position of vice-captain with head coach Trevor Bayliss. "That's a decision we've not agreed yet," Root said. "I think when we get together as a group, me and Trevor will discuss a few things, but that's not been discussed."
With final decision regarding Stokes' involvement in the case still to be taken with the court case still hanging over him, it could only mean that a call on Stokes' vice-captain role will be taken after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
Stokes has made an impressive return to the one-day team in the current ODI series against New Zealand with a man of the match performance in the second match in Mount Maunganui and a rousing second spell with the ball in the opening game in Hamilton which turned the game back England's way even though they eventually lost that match by three wickets.
On asked if the Ashes result would have been something different in Stokes' presence, Root said "There's no point looking back at it like that" he said. "It is what it is. The most important (thing) is in terms of Test cricket we look forward to this next series and make sure he can build momentum in this one-day series and keep putting in match-winning performances to give him confidence when he does come back to red-ball cricket."
Root further stated on his cricket comeback "All I can say is what I've seen of him coming back into the environment and he's worked his nuts off as we expected him to," Root said. "He's gone about things exactly how you'd expect a really good professional to do and that sort of standard in training is why you get the performances on the field."
Stokes said after the second ODI that he had not wanted to ease back into international cricket. He expected himself to hit the ground running and he has certainly done that. "It's a testament to just how good a player he actually is, to have such a period out of the game and come straight back and perform how he has shows the skill level of the individual really," Root said. "It's good to see him back playing, it really is."