Return of ‘freak’ Ben Stokes invaluable for England, insists Dawid Malan

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 16: English cricketer Ben Stokes arrives at Auckland International Airport on February 16, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Stokes recently pleaded not guilty to the charge of affray, and returns to the England cricket squad during the current T20 and then One Day International series in New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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Ben Stokes’ looming return for England will be a monumental boost to the team, batsman Dawid Malan has said. Stokes has joined his England team-mates in New Zealand after pleading not guilty to affray at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old has not played for his country since last September, missing the Ashes defeat in Australia and the subsequent limited-overs campaign. Stokes developed into a key player for England in all formats before his enforced absence and Malan says his return will be invaluable. The Middlesex star, who was England’s top scorer during the Ashes, said: ‘Stokesy is probably one of the best all-rounders in the world, if not the best all-rounder in the world.

 

Return of 'freak' Ben Stokes invaluable for England, says Ashes star Dawid Malan
Stokes, 26, pleaded not guilty to affray at Bristol Magistrates’ Court (Picture: Getty)
Return of 'freak' Ben Stokes invaluable for England, says Ashes star Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan enjoyed a fantastic winter for England in all three formats (Picture: Getty)

He is pretty much a freak when he gets going. The confidence he brings to the team and the skill set he brings are unbelievable. ‘You know that you have got a match-winner there either with the ball or the bat. To have him and around the team is fantastic, especially in the shorter format. ‘It allows you to balance the team and play another batter or another bowler. Someone like Stokesy is invaluable. ‘When you are batting with him you see how good he actually is and the confidence he has is the main thing. He believes that in any situation he can win the game.’ Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, admits his job has been made that bit more difficult over the past five months with Stokes not available for selection.

 

Return of 'freak' Ben Stokes invaluable for England, says Ashes star Dawid Malan

Trevor Bayliss, England’s head coach, will not rush Stokes back (Picture: Getty)

 

However, he is unwilling to rush Stokes back too soon, saying: ‘He hasn’t played for a while. We have got to get him up to speed and hopefully during this one-day series we can get him back into the team. ‘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.

 

 

 

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