Ben Stokes © Getty Images
Ben Stokes © Getty Images

Ben Stokes has pleaded non guilty against his affray charges on him following an incident in Bristol last September. However, he has been included in the ODI squad against New Zealand starting from February 25. While speaking to Sky Sports, England coach Trevor Bayliss  revealed that Stokes might not play the first ODI as he has not played cricket for a while and it is necessary for him to spend some time on ground.

“He hasn’t played for a while. It is not as if we can maybe bring him straight back for these T20s, for example. We have got to get him up to speed and hopefully during this one-day series we can get him back into the team,” Bayliss said

“At this stage I’d have to say it was unlikely [he’ll play the first ODI]. We’ll have to wait and see how he is with travel, with practice. The reason we are getting him out as soon as we can is that we can get him up to speed so he is available for selection as early as possible,” he added.

The court hearing on the affray case would be held on March 12 whereas the final ODI with New Zealand is scheduled to be played on March 10. Ben Stokes last played in domestic T20 tournament for Canterbury in December. Bayliss later added the all-rounder’s importancein the side as they lost the Ashes and failed to perform well in T20I series.

“To me, apart from the way he plays, he’s a quality batter and bowler and our best fielder and one of the leaders in our squad. I think one of the biggest things we’ve missed over the summer has been the combinations we’ve been able to play,” Bayliss said.

“Right throughout the summer we’ve been down to five bowlers, especially in the one-dayers and T20s. We’ve been able to have six bowlers before, which gives the captain plenty of different options. I think that’s what we’ve missed the most apart from his individual performances,” he added.