Ben Stokes set to make England return in ODI opener against New Zealand in Hamilton

Ben Stokes is expected to make his return to the England fold when they face New Zealand in Sunday’s opening ODI in their 50-over series against the Black Caps.

England captain Eoin Morgan revealed the aim to hand the Durham all-rounder a first international commitment since he was arrested last September following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

England will face Kane Williamson’s side in five ODI matches, with Hamilton playing host at the weekend and Stokes is on the verge of making his first appearance in international colours in almost five months, live on Sky Sports Cricket.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] confirmed the 26-year-old would join up with the squad earlier this month after Stokes gave a not-guilty plea to a charge of affray at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and Morgan has described his optimism ahead of the anticipated return.

“We’re expecting (him to play), providing there aren’t any hiccups,” Morgan said about Stokes.

“Providing he gets through a little bit of bowling these next two days of prep then he’ll be fit.

“He’s travelled very well and he’s turned up incredibly fit. The bowling would be the hiccup if he did pick up a niggle or something where it might put him back, but at the moment it’s looking good.”

Morgan did urge caution over Stokes’ comeback in terms of workload in the early stages and admitted a top-order batsman, understood to be Alex Hales or Jonny Bairstow, is most at threat in England’s line-up at Seddon Park.

“It would be nice for him to get a race under his belt,” Morgan said. “But equally when you have a racehorse of the quality of Ben you need to look after him as well.”

With Ben Stokes set to return for England in the ODI series in New Zealand, we look at some of his best international and IPL performances.

Watch England take on New Zealand in the first of five one-day internationals, from 12.30am this Sunday on Sky Sports Cricket.

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