Stokes return a 'huge boost' for England – Root

Joe Root is excited to be welcoming back England all-rounder Ben Stokes for Thursday's opening day-night Test against New Zealand.

Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes   -  Getty Images

England captain Joe Root said Ben Stokes' Test return will give the tourists a "huge boost" as they prepare to do battle with New Zealand in Auckland.

Star all-rounder Stokes is set to play his first Test since his arrest following an altercation in Bristol last September, though he featured in the one-day international series in New Zealand which England won 3-2.

England were without Stokes for the Ashes against Australia, who reclaimed the urn courtesy of a crushing 4-0 victory, and Root is excited to be welcoming back Stokes for Thursday's opening day-night Test.

"You get three players with Ben and certainly on his day probably the best three players within the side all in one," Root said. "It is a huge boost to have him coming back into the team.

"He is such a good character around the dressing-room. When he speaks about the game, he gets everyone's attention and people listen."

Stokes – who has amassed 2,429 runs and 95 wicket sin 39 Tests – made an impact in the ODI series against the Black Caps, scoring 141 runs and claiming five wickets in New Zealand.

Root added: "There's only so much you can stop him doing. He's just desperate to play. It's been a while since he's had the chance to play red-ball cricket, he's just so excited and you don't want to take that out of him. Also, it is really good to see players with that attitude and so desperate to come back in and prove a point and do well."

Playing away from home has proved difficult for England, who have lost nine of their past 12 Tests outside of the country.

But speaking ahead of the two-Test series with New Zealand, Root said: "Looking around world cricket it is very hard for any side to win away from home.

"It has been a tough winter but we have two Tests to put a different stamp on this trip and change our momentum going into the summer."


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