Stokes ‘raring to go’ for England as court date set

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    Stokes is raring to go – Bayliss

    England all-rounder Ben Stokes is “raring to go” after being made available for selection again, says head coach Trevor Bayliss.

    The 26-year-old has been charged with affray after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

    The hearing is scheduled for Bristol Magistrates Court on 13 February.

    The England and Wales Cricket Board said on Wednesday that he is likely to join the squad for February’s Twenty20 matches against New Zealand.

    However, that court date coincides with the first of those games against the Kiwis, in Wellington on 13 February.

    Stokes would be required to attend unless his solicitors make a request to the court to have the case put back to a new date and the court is satisfied with their argument enough to do so.

    “He’s a cricketer and just wants to be out there playing,” Bayliss said.

    “He’s a very popular member of the team and the squad. I’m sure they’ll be welcoming him back with open arms.”

    Stokes, who has not played for England since the incident and intends to contest the charge against him, will join the squad for the second half of the triangular T20 series, which also involves co-hosts Australia.

    He missed England’s winter Ashes campaign and will play no part in the current limited-overs series against Australia, but the ECB allowed him to play domestic cricket in New Zealand in December.

    “It might take him a little while to get back to speed but we’ll just have to wait and see,” Bayliss told BBC Sport.

    “It’s all about performance. I want him to be up and running and ready to go.”

    Bayliss said that he was happy with the board’s decision to make Stokes available for selection, adding that the incident had not distracted the squad on their current tour of Australia.

    “It was certainly something we’d much rather not had to deal with, but when the games came around they were fully focused on playing,” the 55-year-old Australian said.

    “I’ve got admiration for those guys that they were able to see past that and concentrate on the cricket.”

    Stokes and Anderson in ICC team of the year

    Stokes was the only England player to be named in the International Cricket Council’s men’s one-day international team of 2017.

    He also featured in the world governing body’s Test side of the year, alongside pace bowler James Anderson.

    The teams are selected based on performances between 21 September 2016 and 31 December 2017 – a period in which Stokes made three Test centuries and took two five-wicket hauls.

    “I imagine Ben has been through quite a tough time and he’ll probably relish the fact he can get out and do what he does best,” Anderson said.

    “He’s so passionate – he loves playing for England. I think he’ll be relishing the chance to get back out on the field.”

    Both sides were captained by India skipper Virat Kohli, who won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the overall World Cricketer of the Year.

    ICC Test team of the year: Dean Elgar (South Africa), David Warner (Australia), Virat Kohli (India, capt), Steve Smith (Australia), Cheteshwar Pujara (India), Ben Stokes (England), Quinton de Kock (South Africa, wk), Ravichandran Ashwin (India), Mitchell Starc (Australia), Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), James Anderson (England).

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/42729182

    ICC ODI team of the year: David Warner (Australia), Rohit Sharma (India), Virat Kohli (India, capt), Babar Azam (Pakistan), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Quinton de Kock (South Africa, wk), Ben Stokes (England), Trent Boult (New Zealand), Hasan Ali (Pakistan), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Jasprit Bumrah (India).

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