Ben Stokes to play in New Zealand    Getty Images
Ben Stokes to play in New Zealand Getty Images

Ben Stokes has been included in England’s 16-member Test squad for the tour of New Zealand. England will play 2 Tests in New Zealand, starting in Auckland on March 22. Stokes missed the recently concluded Ashes in Australia, where England were beaten 4-0. Stokes missed the series after being banned from international duties as police investigate his alleged role in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

Stokes played for Canterbury, the province of his birth, in New Zealand this season. However, his participation remains subject to “disciplinary developments” in relation to the three-month old Bristol incident.

A report from AFP quotes England’s selection committee: “Though, his involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September.

“Should the ECB Board receive formal confirmation that Stokes has either been charged or that he will face no charges, they would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability for the team at that stage.”

Year-ender 2017: ODI XI of the year
Year-ender 2017: ODI XI of the year

Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone got his first call-up. The 24 year old was rewarded for his rich form. He finished the 2017 County Championship Division 1 as the ninth highest run-getter. He amassed 803 runs at 47.23. His First-Class career-best of 224 came against Warwickshire at Old Trafford this season.

“Liam has been a player that we have been impressed with for quite some time, having performed well in the county system with Lancashire and over the past couple of years with the England Lions,” said James Whitaker, the national selector.

“He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena.”

Wood returns, Moeen stays

Mark Wood returns from injury while the trio of Moeen Ali, James Vince and Mark Stoneman, who disappointed in The Ashes, were retained. However, Gary Ballance, Jake Ball and Tom Curran were dropped.

“After a frustrating period with injuries, Mark (Wood) is now back to full fitness and is looking forward to being part of our Test plans. He will play a significant part in our forthcoming ODI tour of Australia and we will be paying close attention to his efforts over the next few weeks,” added Whitaker.

England play 5 ODIs against Australia, starting in Melbourne on Sunday.

England squad for New Zealand tour: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.