Return to test team for Stokes after brawl not yet decided

Ben Stokes and Trevor Bayliss

Stokes left has not been available for seven of England's past 11 Tests

All-rounder Stokes had been added to England's 13-man squad on Tuesday after being acquitted at Bristol Crown Court in the trial that followed a fight outside a nightclub in the city in September.

He pointed out Stokes has already apologised to his team-mates, in New Zealand last winter when he rejoined them after having to miss the Ashes while a criminal charge was being considered following the incident which took place during a one-day global series against West Indies. So from our point of view, his contrition was evident for the boys in the team.

"He is desperate to get out there and wants to put in performances", England captain Joe Root said on the eve of the match. I'm happy for Ben that's all over.

"I sat him [Stokes] down last night, just me and him, and I asked him brutally and honestly if he was in the right place to play for England and he assured me that he's ready to perform at his best", said Root.

"That [a public apology] will be up to Ben and his management team, I suppose", Bayliss said in a media conference on Thursday.

"We'll see how he is mentally as well as physically".

Stokes' return for the third Test, with England leading 2-0, was always going to be a hard call for Root with two other all-rounders in the squad playing so well. He's not played for a couple of weeks. "I'm sure something will be forthcoming". "There is no question he brought the game into disrepute but cricketers have few opportunities in their lives to play an Ashes series in Australia and missing that tour was a massive blow for Ben".

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Root is happy to trust the evidence of his own eyes, and the words of a team-mate he has known nearly half his life, after taking Stokes aside to make sure it was right to name him in his team to take on India at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Shastri said it was vital India did not brood on what had happened at Lord's as they looked to regain a foothold in the series.

Joe Root confirms that the hosts will welcome back Ben Stokes in the final XI. "What's the reason for him not to play?"

Stokes was instrumental with the ball in England's 31-run win in the first Test returning a match-haul of 6 for 113 as he troubled the Indians with his late in-dippers.

"Knowing the England cricket fans as I do, they will give him a reception".

That does not mean India will necessarily desist from reminding Stokes of recent events once they take the field.

Above all India will hope that captain and star batsman Virat Kohli, who scored 200 runs at Edgbaston including a superb 149, is fit after being plagued by back trouble at Lord's. That's where character and discipline come into play.

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