England yet to decide whether Ben Stokes will make return at Trent Bridge
The all-rounder was added to England’s squad ahead of the third Test against India after being cleared of affray.
England head coach Trevor Bayliss will decide over the next two days whether Ben Stokes is ready to make his Test return.
The influential all-rounder was cleared of affray on Tuesday after a week-long case at Bristol Crown Court, relating to a late-night fight in the city following last September’s one-day international against the West Indies.
Stokes was instantly recalled to the England squad ahead of the third Test against India, which starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Bayliss, speaking at a press conference in Nottingham on Thursday, said: “It’s good to have him back around the squad.
“I’m happy for Ben and glad it’s all over. I haven’t actually spoken to him since…but I’ve got the next two days to assess where he’s at.”
Bayliss continued: “It’s a good position to be in. Whether he plays or not we’ve got some guys in good form in the team.
“It’s a difficult decision whoever misses out, whether it’s Ben or anyone else. It’s a position we’ve been trying to get into for a while. We have some good young players coming in.”
On Stokes’ recall to the squad, the Australian continued: “It was a collective decision. Myself, the management, the captain, Andy Flower, the board – everyone had a bit of a say and basically thought for his (Stokes’) own well-being it was good to get him back around the cricket.
“There’s nothing automatic about selections, we’ll see how he is mentally as well as physically. He’s not played for a couple of weeks. It’s a difficult decision to make.”
Stokes’ acquittal ended legal proceedings into the Bristol incident but he and team-mate Alex Hales will be the subject of a Cricket Discipline Commission investigation.
And Bayliss added: “Since the incident we’ve done a lot of work with team culture with the two captains – and that’s ongoing. Changes with curfews and that type of thing.
“In the past all the other teams I’ve been involved with and this one, when I arrived, would treat teams like adults and they (players) will respond like it.
“For a team on the road 11 months out of 12, we had an incident we’d rather have not happened to a degree and we’ve thought we needed to do something different.
“There were a couple of small indiscretions in Australia after that incident and I think the players have finally woken up. They’ve learned their lesson and the way they go about their profession has been top class.”