Canterbury cricket recently cleared the air surrounding his return to the team. The team management said that it was highly unlikely that Stokes would return to the team ahead of England’s ODI and test series against New Zealand. The club is also reluctant to drop one of their contracted players in order to accommodate Stokes, that is if he is available.
Ben Stokes’ cricketing life has seen so many ups and down in the last one year, which a regular cricketer doesn’t get to see in a whole career. The English all-rounder started the year with the bang as he became the most expensive player to be bought at the IPL Auction. He repaid the faith of the owners with a man of the tournament performance. However, things soon came crumbling down, as he was caught in a late night brawl outside a pub in Bristol.
The brawl led to ECB suspending Stokes for future team selections until his case was completely closed. The past week, the 26-year-old was charged for affray by the Royal court and his hearing will take place on 14th February, the same day England starts their tour of New Zealand. The good news for the all-rounder is that ECB have cleared his name for New Zealand tour but given that he will be in front of the judge on 14th, it is mostly that he will join up with the team before the start of the ODI series on 25th February.
Stokes, however, did manage to get some match practice as he joined up with Canterbury in New Zealand after receiving a NOC from the ECB. The all-rounder wasn’t at his best as he scored just 36 runs and picked up 1 wicket in the 3 ODI’s. He also took part in 3 T20’s where his performance slightly better than the 50 over format.
For Canterbury the issue also of not allowing Stokes to play himself into form just before a series against New Zealand. Something that Auckland did after selecting James Anderson in their squad just before a series between England and New Zealand.
Right now, Stokes focus will be completely on making a return to the national team, hence this decision by Canterbury will not come as a big shock to him.