Morgan: Stokes likely to play first ODI against New Zealand

Eoin Morgan Ben Stokes likely play 1st ODI New Zealand England cricket

Ben Stokes has not played any international cricket since September last year

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

England captain Eoin Morgan has admitted that all-rounder Ben Stokes is likely to make his international comeback in the first ODI against New Zealand on February 25 in Hamilton.

Stokes arrived in New Zealand on Friday after appearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and pleading not guilty to a charge of affray.

The charge stems from a street fight outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol in September last year.

Morgan confirmed that Stokes won’t feature in England’s clash against New Zealand in the ongoing T20 tri-series on Sunday, but reiterated that he could be in the playing XI a week later.

Morgan’s comments differ from that of England head coach Trevor Bayliss, who said that Stokes was “unlikely” to play in the first ODI against the Black Caps.

“Yes, there’s a good chance he’ll be fit for that,” Morgan was quoted as saying by “He only got off the flight yesterday, he’ll be taking the next couple of days really easy, obviously there’s a big risk of injury over the next few days, so he’ll be taking a light load.”

During England’s training on Saturday, Stokes warmed up with the team and received a few throwdowns. However, while the rest of the team had a net session, the 26-year-old did some one-on-one fielding and took high and long catches.

Despite Stokes having a light training session, Morgan admitted that his presence boosted morale within the England camp.

“When he arrived in last night we got together, a group of us in the team room, and just caught up for a while,” Morgan said. “A lot of us have seen him in the time he’s been away, but some guys haven’t. So it’s good to have him back.”

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