Bayliss was noncommittal on Stokes’ return. (Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Bayliss was noncommittal on Stokes’ return. (Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Bayliss backs off ‘difficult decision’

ENGLAND coach Trevor Bayliss has distanced himself from the decision to allow Ben Stokes to return to international arena despite being formally charged by police.

Stokes, 26, is set to pull on the England colours again in New Zealand next month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's decision to make Stokes available for selection came after he was charged with affray in relation to an incident outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25.

Before he was charged, Stokes did not take any part in the recent Ashes series after footage of the alleged incident surfaced and was ruled out of the current five-match one-day international series against Australia.

 

The ECB's decision to clear Stokes to play after he was formally charged has been met with criticism given he has an impending court date, which has yet to be determined.

Ahead of Friday's second ODI at the Gabba, Bayliss said he was not involved in the decision to bring Stokes back.

England coach Trevor Bayliss talks to his players. (AP Photo/Trevor Collens)
England coach Trevor Bayliss talks to his players. (AP Photo/Trevor Collens)

"That's a board decision which I obviously had no part in," he said. "It's obviously a difficult situation and difficult decision to make.

"From our point of view here, we've just been concentrating on playing cricket without him to begin with.

"Everyone involved with the team and squad are very happy that he is now available again."

While Stokes was not eligible for Ashes selection, he played first-class cricket in New Zealand, the country of his birth.

That decision alone brought about confusion given Stokes was allowed to play the game but not at international level.

Stokes played six matches for Canterbury in New Zealand but Bayliss said the star all-rounder was underdone and not ready to return in the current ODI series.

The ECB’s decision has been met with criticism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, file)
The ECB’s decision has been met with criticism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, file)

"He hasn't played any cricket for a little while," he said.

"That was basically my thought, he should probably start in New Zealand to allow him a little bit of time to get up to speed.

"I haven't had an opportunity to speak to him about what his program might be over the next week or two leading into that series.

"We'll have to have a close look at that over the next day or so and work out what's going to be the best for him."

After losing the Ashes 4-nil, England finally tasted some success in Australia this summer by winning the first of five ODIs.

Bayliss said there was a different feeling among the 50-over squad and they wanted to keep that momentum at the Gabba.

"Obviously with the Ashes series we had, it was nice to get off to the ODIs with a good win," he said.

"There has always been a little bit of a different feeling amongst this group.

"It's a little bit different group to the Test squad. They are full of confidence."



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