Stokes return a boost for Root

21 March 2018 03:36:29 EST

England can welcome back three players in one when all-rounder Ben Stokes takes to the field in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

Stokes was forced to miss the recent 4-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia due to off-field issues, but he is back in the fold for the two-test series against the Black Caps.

It is a huge boost to have him coming back into the team.

Joe Root

And skipper Joe Root is delighted to have the added option of Stokes at his disposal as the tourists aim to end a difficult winter on a high note.

He told reporters: "You get three players with Ben and, certainly on his day, probably the best three players within the side all in one. It is a huge boost to have him coming back into the team.

"We have to be quite careful and make sure he is absolutely ready and be quite flexible with how we use him, especially in the first Test.

"There's only so much you can stop him doing, he's just desperate to play. It's been a while since he's had the chance to play red-ball cricket, he's just so excited and you don't want to take that out of him.

"Also, it is really good to see players with that attitude and so desperate to come back in and prove a point and do well."

Stoke, a native of Christchurch, has only played two Test matches against the country of his birth, both during the summer of 2015.

His first was memorable as he hit the fastest Test century at Lord's, reaching three figures from just 85 balls after falling eight runs short of a ton in the first innings.

Stokes is priced at 11/2 to be top team batsman in the first innings at Eden Park and is 9/2 to be top team bowler, while he is available at 9/1 to be named man of the match.

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