Daily Mail UK – There cannot be a more sleepy and low-key setting than Hamilton for Ben Stokes to finally make his entrance towards the end of a winter that should have provided him with his best chance to star in an Ashes series in Australia.

Summary

  • The contrast between cricket’s holy grail and a Twenty20 tri-series that has hardly captured the public’s imagination could not be greater but to England it will feel like Stokes is riding to their rescue on a white charger.
  • There is no-one here blaming Stokes, who was initially suspended for his part in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub, for the loss of the Ashes nor for the intrusive spotlight that was shone on England’s social activities in Australia.
  • Only the possibility of a problem in the relationship between Stokes and Alex Hales, who was with him that fateful night in Bristol and faces ECB disciplinary action once the court case is settled, might be an issue for England.
  • Malan, a ray of light in the short-form gloom after hitting in Wellington his third half-century in four international Twenty20 appearances, revealed there was an earlier time when England thought Stokes was on his way to join them.
  • It remains to be seen whether Stokes trains with England on Friday and he has already been ruled out of the final qualifying match on Sunday of what has been a pretty meaningless tournament played out in front of small crowds.


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