England head coach Trevor Bayliss has described Ben Stokes as ‘one hell of a player’ on the eve of the all-rounder’s disciplinary hearing for his involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub.
The high praise from Bayliss comes a week before Stokes’ date (December 5) with the ECB Cricket Disciplinary Commission over conduct which brought the game into disrepute.
While spin reigned in England’s 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka, Stokes finished the series as the pick of the pace bowlers by claiming five wickets at an average of 20.40.
Stokes revealed last month how he was intent on putting 2018 behind him ahead of a huge year to come for England’s Test and ODI teams next summer. And he received backing from coach Bayliss who complimented the Durham man’s conduct since his return to the fold.
“I hope he’s available for our next game. Certainly I think he’s learnt a lesson since that time. The way he’s conducted himself since he has come back into the fold has been exemplary.”
“You can throw the ball to him, you can put him in any situation with the bat, you can put him where the ball is coming in the field [he took nine catches in this series],” said Bayliss. “For me he’s the first pick. His averages may not be the greatest. But you add those three disciplines together and it adds up to one hell of a player.”
Stokes missed last winter’s Ashes tour Down Under after he was suspended by the ECB pending an investigation by Avon & Somerset Police. The 27-year-old was arrested following a fracas outside Mbargo nightclub in the early hours after England’s ODI victory over the West Indies.
After the Crown Prosecution Service took his case to trial, Stokes was cleared of one charge of affray by a jury.