England all-rounder –Moeen Ali is excited with the return of Ben Stokes in the upcoming New Zealand Test series, saying his presence provides much-needed balance to the side and makes it even stronger side when he is on the field.
Ali also said that Stokes is ready to go in the first Test –which will be New Zealand's first home Day/Night affair, starting from 22 March in Auckland.
The 26-year-old all-rounder returned to international arena with the One-Day International series in New Zealand last month after a gap of around 5 month due to Bristol incident in September, helping England win the series 3-2, but he had to miss the warm-ups due to a back injury.
However, Stokes has now recovered from the injury and had bowled during the net session and seems to be ready to go. However, the management will take a call on his selection for the first Test on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Moeen Ali said of Stokes, “He's always great for the team. The balance of the team is pretty much sorted when he's in the team. It's just having him in the side, knowing we've got a much stronger side when he's playing. It gives everyone else a good lift, and obviously him being at slip for me, he's very good in that position. He's ready to go and ready to perform and give back to the team, which I'm sure he wants to do what happened earlier.”
Although, New Zealand lost the One Day series but they did put up a strong fight, taking a 2-1 lead in the first three games. England managed to win last two games and eventually clinch the series, and Moeen believes that the hosts will give them another tough challenge in Tests.
The 30-year-old signed off by saying, “I think it's going to be quite a tight series. I think they've got a very good side and some world-class players who are in good form and some very good bowlers as well. I think the difference will be how low we bat - our tail, with (Chris) Woakesy, probably going to be number nine now, we bat all the way down.”