WELLINGTON: Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has revealed his pain at missing England’s Ashes campaign after being sidelined over an alleged fight outside a nightclub.
The incident meant he was unable to join his teammates in Australia, but the 26-year-old hit form Wednesday with a man-of-the-match display in England’s second ODI against New Zealand.
Stokes took two wickets then smacked an unbeaten 63 in the six-wicket win, saying afterwards he was thrilled to be back in an England shirt after five months out.
“It was very satisfying for me. I was quite emotional walking off there at the end,” he said after his teammates gave him a standing ovation at the end of the match in Mount Maunganui.
“Even walking on the field the first time and walking off made me understand how much of a privilege it is to represent your country.”
Stokes joined England in New Zealand this month after pleading not guilty in a British court to a charge of affray. The case is ongoing.
After his second match back, Stokes spoke for the first time about missing the Ashes, where his absence was sorely felt as England slumped to a 4-0 series loss.
“It was obviously frustrating to watch the Ashes,” he said. “I went through all the emotions as I would have done playing but there’s not a lot I can change about that now.
“I’ve been following all the cricket the lads have been playing but what I have to do now is focus on going forward.
Stokes said he did not want to be eased into the team after his long lay-off and was pleased captain Eoin Morgan threw him straight into the fray.
“I want to contribute every time I play for England,” he said.
“When that opportunity came back round to represent England again I wasn’t prepared to let anybody down.”