England Test skipper –Joe Root on Wednesday said that the return of his star all-rounder Ben Stokes will be a huge boost for his team for the two-Test series in New Zealand, starting from 22 March at Eden Park.
Root also described Stokes’ return as a "three-in-one" player but warned the 26-year-old must be on his "best behavior" on his international return in New Zealand to avoid in getting a demerit point that could lead to a ban.
The Durham all-rounder, who has not played Tests since September last year, when he was caught up in an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub – which led him to being charged with affray.
Root told Sky Sports in Auckland, “You get three players with Ben, and certainly on his day probably the best three players within the side all in one. It is a huge boost to have him coming back into the team. We have to be quite careful and make sure he is absolutely ready and be quite flexible with how we use him, especially in the first Test. He's very focused on what he needs to do. Credit to him, he's been able to manage that really well. He's so excited and you don't want to take that out of him.”
At the moment, Stokes has three active ICC demerit points and one more offence in the Day-Night Test against the Black Caps will lead him into an automatic one-match suspension.
The skipper further added, “Ben will have to be on his best behavior. I'm sure there might be a bit of noise about that after what's happened (to Kagiso Rabada) about demerit points and missing games.”
Root signed off by saying, “You want to make sure, not just that (your players' behavior) is sitting well with you, but they're able to be on the field for the next game and next series. For me, it's your team and you want to make sure you're heading up this team, and if it's portraying an image of something you don't like then I suppose that's on you.”