England all-rounder Ben Stokes is likely to make his long-awaited return to England in the Hamilton ODI against the Kiwis. Meanwhile, Stokes last represented England in September before the Bristol incident took place.
England didn’t include Stokes in their squads off late, due to the ongoing legal process. However, Stokes pleaded a not guilty when he appeared in the court.
Meanwhile, Stokes last played for Canterbury in New Zealand’s domestic limited-overs competitions in December. However, he is currently in New Zealand training with the team and is likely to be named in the first XI for the first ODI. Further, England will play a five-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Stokes looking good:
Meanwhile, England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan admitted that Stokes is raring to go and is looking good in the nets. Further, Morgan feels Stokes will not take too much time to get back into form.
“He looks in great nick, he’s hit the ground running since he’s been involved and he’s been himself, which is great to see,” Morgan said. “He might be better for the more games he does play and feels more comfortable coming back. It is his first game in quite a long time,” he added.
Also, Morgan added that Stokes has put the legal case to the back of his mind and was just concentrating on the one-day series.
“I think it’s the skill of any professional sportsman, when it comes down to doing your job,” Morgan said. “It’s quite a nice release, in a way, because you get to focus on one thing instead of wider things that are going on,” he mentioned.
Need to improve with the bat:
Meanwhile, England defeated Australia 4-1, following their Ashes defeat. However, they couldn’t manage to reach the finals of the triangular T20 series involving New Zealand and Australia. Morgan feels his side has struggled with the bat and would need to improve in New Zealand conditions.
“Our batting probably took a backward step in Australia so we’d like to see improvements on that in this series,” he said. “Our bowling has come a long way in the last eight months, 11 months probably. You can win a lot of games certainly with the bat, but restricting how many you chase down or controlling a game with the ball is so powerful. We’ve got to be opening to learning and improving on those weaknesses as we go along. Australia was a tough series and New Zealand are going to be no different,” Morgan concluded.
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