Ben Stokes spoke of his delight at being back in the England side after putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the second ODI against New Zealand.
The 26-year-old all-rounder hit an unbeaten 63 as well as taking two wickets and claiming two run outs in a comfortable six-wicket win for England at Mount Maunganui.
After missing the entirety of England’s tour of Australia following his arrest in Bristol in September, Stokes returned to international cricket in the first game of the five-match series against the Black Caps and is now looking to the future.
Ian Ward caught up with Ben Stokes after his man-of-the-match performance
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back among the team, being around all the lads and even the backroom staff,” he told Sky Sports Cricket.
“After the time spent at home and the amount of hard work that I’ve put in that feeling walking out the other night was amazing and it was a bit emotional tonight walking off the field not out.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone for the things to come in future with all the games we’ve got coming up.
“I did [feel nervous] before but when I walked out there it was the normal feeling I get, that was in the one place that I wanted to be, walking out and representing my country. It was an amazing feeling, I’m back here now and I’m really glad to have contributed to a win tonight.
New Zealand vs England
March 3, 2018, 12:30am
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“I think the bowling has been the toughest thing in terms of getting that intensity. It felt a little bit tight sometimes and just trying to rush myself through. The batting feels in good order and hopefully the bowling will just come with time and rhythm and all the time I spend in the nets.
“It has been [frustrating] but it is all about building to the future, we’ve got a really busy summer coming up so hopefully this the start of contributing towards games and winning them.”
Stokes accounted for two of four run outs in the New Zealand innings and he believes that England’s fielding was the biggest area of improvement side after defeat in the first ODI.
The pick of the action from the second ODI between New Zealand and England
“I think that’s where we let ourselves down in the first game, to be honest,” he added. “I thought we were brilliant with the ball and the bat but a few misfields cost us in a tight game.
“We came out here tonight and I think that fielding performance showed that is really where we wanted to improve: the catching, the run outs, the energy in the field was 10 times better.
“This is the type of performance we want as a team and where we know that we can perform at a consistent level. If we continue to play like this then hopefully we’ll see some more exciting games from England.”