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England select Stokes for New Zealand Tests

England have included all-rounder Ben Stokes in their 16-man squad to face New Zealand in a Test series in March.

11 Jan 2018, 03:54 IST
BenStokes - Cropped
England all-rounder Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes has been selected in England's squad to face New Zealand in a two-Test series starting in March, "subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments".

The all-rounder played no part in the 4-0 Ashes defeat at the hands of Australia due to an ongoing police investigation into a late-night incident in Bristol back in September.

He is the subject of an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspension as he waits to hear whether he will be charged for his involvement.

The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and subsequently released under investigation without charge.

Stokes flew to New Zealand late last year for a stint with Canterbury but returned home shortly before Christmas.

James Vince keeps his place in the squad despite averaging less than 27 in the Ashes, while Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone has been called up for the first time.

Tom Curran and Jake Ball, who both featured against Australia, miss out while Gary Ballance - an unused squad member in the Ashes - is also dropped.

Durham seamer Mark Wood, who travelled Down Under with the England Lions, is brought back into the fold.

"After a frustrating period with injuries, Mark is now back to full fitness and is looking forward to being part of our Test plans," said national selector James Whitaker.

"He will play a significant part in our forthcoming ODI tour of Australia and we will be paying close attention to his efforts over the next few weeks."

On Livingstone's call-up, Whitaker added: "Liam has been a player that we have been impressed with for quite some time, having performed well in the county system with Lancashire and over the past couple of years with the England Lions.

"He is a very talented and tough cricketer who has the ideal qualities and character to be successful in the Test arena."

The first Test against the Black Caps, a day-night affair at Eden Park, begins on March 22 while the second instalment of the series will be held at Hagley Oval from March 30.

England squad to face New Zealand:

Joe Root, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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