New Zealand vs. England: Ben Stokes return is a ‘huge boost’ says Joe Root

England hope to banish their Ashes memories with Test series win against the Kiwis

Ben Stokes New Zealand vs. England Test cricket
England’s Ben Stokes bowls in the nets ahead of the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland
(Image credit: Getty Images)

England all-rounder Ben Stokes will make his return to Test cricket tomorrow against New Zealand and his availability is a “huge boost” for the team, says captain Joe Root.

Stokes missed the Ashes series after he was arrested in Bristol following an incident outside a nightclub, but has now been cleared to make his international cricket return starting in Auckland for the first day-night Test to be held in New Zealand.

Speaking ahead of the first Test, Root said that Stokes has been focused during training and is ready. Root told Sky Sports: “You get three players with Ben, and certainly on his day probably the best three players within the side all in one.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

“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.

“He’s very focused on what he needs to do. Credit to him, he’s been able to manage that really well.”

After the 4-0 loss against Australia in the Ashes, Root says that the two-Test series against New Zealand can help England end their winter tour on a high.

England hit back to win 3-2 in the one-day series against the Kiwis and now Root wants to see those performances in the Test arena. The England skipper is also keen to secure a series victory away from home after failing to win any of their last 11 away Test matches.

Root told the BBC: “It is a big series for us coming from a big defeat like the Ashes, so we need to make sure we put that right and come away with some success overseas - because it’s not happened for a while.

“It has been a tough winter until now, but we have two Test matches to put a different stamp on it and change our momentum.”

New Zealand vs. England Test series

England’s 16-man Test squad to play New Zealand

Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

New Zealand vs. England Test fixtures

England play two Test matches during their tour of New Zealand:

  • 1st Test match: 22-26 March at Eden Park in Auckland (daily play starts at 1am UK time)
  • 2nd Test match: 29 March-April 2 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch (daily play starts at 11pm UK time)

How to watch and listen to the New Zealand vs. England Test matches

Sky Sports will show live coverage from both Test matches between England and New Zealand. Tomorrow’s coverage starts at 1am UK time. BBC’s Test Match Special will provide ball-by-ball action on BBC Radio 5 live.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.