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Stokes unlikely for first ODI against New Zealand - Bayliss

Ben Stokes (pictured) won't be rushed on his return insists Trevor Bayliss
Ben Stokes (pictured) won't be rushed on his return insists Trevor Bayliss

England head coach Trevor Bayliss insisted that all-rounder Ben Stokes is unlikely to feature in the opening One-Day International against New Zealand in Hamilton.

Stokes pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray over an incident in Bristol in September and will join the England squad in New Zealand ahead of the ODI series and two Tests to follow.

During the phase, the Durham all-rounder missed the Ashes and ODI series against Australia and the ongoing T20I Tri-Series that also involves the Black Caps and his last competitive game came in December during the Super Smash contest where he represented Canterbury.

"He hasn’t played for a while,“ Bayliss told reporters.

"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.

“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.”

In the absence of Stokes, England were forced to go with five straight bowlers in their line-up and the move did work during the ODI series where they overpowered Australia to 4-1 victory but backfired in the T20I series where they have lost all the three games until now and face New Zealand in a must-win encounter on Sunday.

“Right throughout the summer we’ve been down to five bowlers, especially in the one-dayers and T20s,” Bayliss added.

“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.”

England are scheduled to play five ODIs and two Tests in New Zealand between 25th February and 3rd April.

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