Ben Stokes doesn't appear to be in the kind of form that could save the Ashes for England, given the star all-rounder's latest lean performance for Canterbury province in New Zealand's domestic limited-overs cricket championship.
England one-day captain Eoin Morgan is pleased to see Stokes back on the field: "He is getting cricket under his belt which is good as there is only so much you can get indoors, banging bowling-machine balls".
"Look, we have discussed what will happen when Ben returns, but whenever he comes back that's going to be a bit of a circus for sure". It remains to be seen if Stokes and Hales are allowed to participate in what could be a gruelling series for the visitors. On the other hand, CPS is now deliberating on whether to press charges against Stokes for his role in the infamous street brawl.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of scrutiny", Bayliss said. "There's been a fair bit of scrutiny that's come along with it in the first five or six weeks". Whether it's any more of a circus than it's already been, it's hard to say.
The ECB announced this week that Hales is free to play again after no charges were brought for his involvement in the September incident outside a Bristol nightclub after which Stokes was arrested on suspicion...
But, after Jason Roy returned to the ODI side in fine style and Jonny Bairstow all but cemented his place as an opening batsman during the series against West Indies, it has left no obvious place available for Hales' return.
After making just two runs and had figures of 0-49 off nine overs in a defeat to Otago, he got off to a promising start in his second match. But we've got to adjust to that at some stage.
"The ECB Board has convened via conference call to make the decision after being informed that Hales is deemed a witness and will face no charges".
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