Return to test team for Ben Stokes after brawl not yet decided

Return to test team for Ben Stokes after brawl not yet decided

"He's just desperate to get back playing cricket, make that his main focus", Root said of the all-rounder.

Stokes replaces left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran, England's man-of-the-match in their 31-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston earlier this month, with Root saying it was "probably one of the most hard decisions I've had to make as captain".

Stokes spent the last week at the trial in the Bristol Crown Court for his involvement in an incident outside a Bristol bar previous year, and missed the second Test at Lord's.

Not since 13 August 1955 has a Test in England started on a Saturday, when Peter May captained a team featuring Brian Close, Denis Compton and Jim Laker against South Africa at the Oval (they would win by 92 runs). "He feels ready to play".

Root agreed that there was a possibility Stokes would not get a warm welcome.

Stokes will be assessed "mentally and physically" over the two days of training at Trent Bridge before a decision is made on whether he returns to the XI.

"From that perspective, I have no worries or doubts that he will go and deliver just like he has so many times".

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"It was a collective decision - myself, management, captain, the board, Ed Smith - everyone had a say", Bayliss said.

But Root would not be drawn on the issue, saying it was a matter for Stokes.

"Since the incident we've done a lot of work with team culture and that's ongoing- changes with curfews and that type of thing", he said.

England first named an unchanged squad for the Trent Bridge Test, but kept the door ajar for Stokes pending court proceedings. This spacing was felt fairest, with three days scheduled between the first and second Tests and four between second and third (as it happened, the early finishes at Edgbaston and Lord's added extra rest to the schedule anyway).

Discussing Curran, who put in a man-of-the-match performance at Edgbaston, Root said it was "about us as a squad performing collectively for five games".

"I think some people would see that as the easy option, to leave Sam out", Root said. "What he's done so far has been nothing short of high-class".

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